So here I am again and I did make it to the ballet on December 19th in São Paulo as I had hoped (the show in Bixiga). But even though the show was better in the second half than the first and it featured principals from both the Royal Ballet and English National Ballet, I left a bit disappointed.
One of the great things when you watch one of the classic Tchaikovsky ballets is hearing the orchestra play live. I know there is an entire theatre full of people, but I always feel like the orchestra is playing just for me when I see them all performing. Sometimes, I’ll be watching them instead of the dance, especially the percussionist just waiting for the right moment to hit the triangle.
Yet, the show in Bixiga had a recorded soundtrack. So even with great dancers from great ballet companies, they just put on a CD for the music. That took some of the romance out of the experience.
Plus, there were some strange liberties taken in the choreography. I was a bit non-plussed on a few occasions. The Nutcracker is a simple fairy story. Most people know the story, or have some idea of it if they have not read it or seen the show for a long time. Yet I was wondering what was going on sometimes. Particularly on occasions like the battle with the rats. In all the productions I have ever seen, Clara saves the Nutcracker from a final attack by the King Rat. When they go to the magical land of the sweets/snow, the Nutcracker mimes the battle and explains how she saved him. The mime was there in this version, except she had not saved him from the battle at all. And the music at the end of the battle, where a pas de deux marks where they fall in love, did not feature a pas de deux at all… these are all quite fundamental plot developments and yet I had not idea what was going on.
Still, it was fun to see a completely new production. I’m just glad I saw some other productions in the UK first!