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Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker/ The Mouse King (Arthaus Musik: 108054) [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
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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.
A delight from beginning to end. --Julian Haylock, International Record Review
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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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Thought it wonderful and the best version of the Nutcracker I have ever seen and with a truly imaginative story that had a proper start and finish - no leaving the viewer in the... Read morePublished 8 days ago by Amazon Customer
It took several viewings for me to really warm to this production, which makes the story needlessly complicated at times, but it makes a welcome change to the more traditional... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Yorkie
this is a little different to the traditional productions, but I found it utterly enchanting. It makes a real story out of what can feel a bit disparate, through the use of dream... Read morePublished 11 months ago by TMPlym