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Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker/ The Mouse King (Arthaus Musik: 108054) [Blu-ray] [2012][Region Free]

4.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Anna Tsygankova, Matthew Golding, James Stout, Alexander Zhembrovskyy
  • Format: Classical, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: German, English, French
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Arthaus Musik
  • DVD Release Date: 30 April 2012
  • Run Time: 108 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B007N0SWAA
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 161,844 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Going to see Nutcracker with the whole family has been a tradition in other countries for many years. Now it is a tradition in the Netherlands as well. It became apparent that the Netherlands had also adopted this tradition in 1996, when the Dutch National Ballet presented its own version of the famous fairytale ballet. It is a magical production that has won the hearts of more than 250,000 people to date. Choreographers Toer van Schayk and Wayne Eagling created a Nutcracker for the children and adults of today. It is more dynamic and exciting, and less sweet than usual. They also chose to give a Dutch twist to their interpretation of the story, with skaters on the canals and a living room that transforms into a snowy forest. Unlike the original story, the production by Eagling and Van Schayk (who also designed the delightful sets and costumes) does not take place on Christmas Eve in a German town, but during St. Nicholas celebrations in Amsterdam, around 1810.

Review

A delight from beginning to end. --Julian Haylock, International Record Review

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Blu-ray
What makes this production stand out among the more opulent and better known Nutcrackers like the ROH or Bolshoi, not to mention countless others is a refreshingly new approach and choreography without having to resort to modern minimalistic settings, psychology, or cheap contemporary political references like the totally disgusting one conducted by Barenboim that features a bunch of Arabs giving nightmares to Clara instead of the Mouseking. It is very traditional, although the geographical location has been shifted 500 miles to the north into Netherlands, which is very very acceptable since they have not screwed around with the plot (true to the original in many ways), settings (opulent) and of course, the dances.

But let me make this clear. It would have got only 4 stars from me rather than 5 just owing to two reasons that are very striking.

1. The handling of the Music.
I first noticed Ermanno Florio as a conductor around 10 years ago conducting Don Quixote in the Paris production with Ariel Dupont/Manuel Legris that won the 2004 Cannes Music Award for Outstanding Classical Program in the Performing Arts. Then ofcourse, there is the Le Corsaire which won the Emmy. Of this, Don Quixote is still considered by me as the best conducted work of this piece. Unparalleled. Florio has done this again here, in one of the very best if not the best reading of Nutcracker that I have ever heard. It is ALSO the BEST RECORDED for a DVD/Blu ray, audio recording-wise. Both together make this not only a visual, but an audio extravaganza that betters all the present Nutcrackers going around. Yes, the pas de deux in the second act is a little slower and more measured than all others I am familiar with, but has its own beauty being interpreted this way.

2.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
This version of the Nutcracker Ballet by Wayne Eagling and Toer van Schayk was created as long ago as 1996 and has been a popular and regular part of the Dutch Ballet repertoire ever since. It differs from the Petipa based versions in several ways as described in some detail below and which may or may not be a problem for non-Dutch purchasers.

The setting is placed in Amsterdam in 1810 rather than a small German town. The time of the action is on the eve of St. Nicholas rather than Christmas Eve. This is because there was no tradition of giving Christmas presents in the Netherlands at the beginning of the 19th century. Neither of these changes seems to me to require very much adjustment on the part of the viewer - just a little flexibility, even though the use of ice skates for some of the initial dancing outside Clara's house may come as more of a surprise! It reminded me of my eldest daughter's experience of living in Holland several years ago where temporary outdoors skating rinks were a regular feature of Dutch winter life.

More importantly there are major changes to the 2nd act where, instead of being set in the Kingdom of Sweets, Clara dreams that she has been transported to a land through a magical lantern where people from Clara's life and the 1st act party reappear. These also arrive through the magic lantern lens which forms a central part of the backdrop scenery. The travellers include the Mouse King whose curse, when killed by the Nutcracker doll, is cancelled thus enabling the Nutcracker doll to return to its former role as a Prince. The result of these changes is a much closer story link between the two acts but at the expense of the more familiar character dances.
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Surely one of the dullest and most inconsequential of Nutcrackers. The opening scene on the frozen canal is quite lovely - but that's the end of any magic or logic. The 'party' is mind-numbingly boring, whatever is going on in the great transformation scene is a complete puzzle. But the production reaches its nadir in the second act. The huge and magnificent stage is dressed with an ugly non-sequiteur of a set and just 3 people occupy the stage for some ten minutes while Tchaikovsky's magnificent score is just ignored. When the divertissement arrives there seems to be no reason for it and each of the dances is a let down - the Arabian Dance entirely distasteful. Only with the Flower Waltz do things perk up - even in the scenery (though regrettably Mere Gigogne is again omitted). The 'so what' finale is not performed to Tchaikovsky's finale music. Why do choreographer/producers think they know better than the genius that is Tchaikovsky. So why the 3 stars? The finely danced Grand Pas de Deux and the orchestra and conductor. There are many finer Nutcrackers available - even ones which depart from the traditional.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This was delivered within a few days. I have only watched snippets of it as I want to keep it for Christmas day when I will enjoy it with some friends. I know it will be very good, both colour and music judging from the small amount I have seen already.
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