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on 8 March 2010
Anthony Dowell is a supreme Drosselmeyer and the rest of the cast do him full justice. Alina Cojocaru as Clara, in particular, is on stage for most of the performance and is enchanting throughout, although all the performers give of their best. In spite of its age, this magical Peter Wright/Julia Trevelyan Oman production is still dazzling in its presentation and technical skill. The Royal Opera House Orchestra under Svetlanov give a beautiful account of Tchaikovsky's ravishing music. The DVD also provides as good a view of the stage and dancers as the best seat in the House. Highly recommended and worth every penny.
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on 29 December 2004
I saw this when it was first broadcast on the BBC at christmas time and loved it, so to own it on dvd is truly wonderful. It'll make you feel like an awe filled child again, it does with me anyway. I cannot begin to imagine the work and effort that is required from everybody involved to produce a ballet of this quality but I'm full of admiration. This production of The Nutcracker is completely faultless, everything is so splendid, the costumes, the stage, the music, everything, and all the dancers are amazing. Well, this is The Royal Ballet at The Royal Opera House, so the perfection is no surprise. The special features are very impressive too, short interviews with Sir Peter Wright and Sir Anthony Dowell and a behind the scenes piece, which shows that putting on a ballet is as complicated as you'd imagine, and a couple of scenes with fixed wide shot, these are good because you get a feel of watching from one of the seats, however that's not to say the regular filming feels like the opposite, rather you feel like you've got the best seat in the house. Indeed, the camera work is outstanding, all the action is viewed well without the camera being brought to your attention, very clever.
A classic, I'm so glad I own it.
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on 5 December 2008
This is a restaging of my favourite production - Peter Wrights 1985 Nutcracker. Lovely to see Anthony Dowell, who danced the Prince in 1985, as Herr Drosselmeyer - complete with conjuring tricks! And Myako Yoshida's Sugar Plum Fairy is a real highlight: her dancing manages to have a soft, romantic edge without losing any precision. A Christmas treat to be enjoyed at any time of year.
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on 5 January 2009
This is a magical and the most lavishing production of Nutcracker, performed by world class dancers and presented in grandest scale both musically and theatrically. Svetlanov's choice of tempo is too slow in some of the scenes, but he brings out almost Wagnerian grandeur and emotional intensity in crucial scenes and climaxes. Few productions could capture the other-worldly atmosphere and the richness of the music with such taste and style.

My only disappointment is Miyako Yoshida's stiff and rather sedate rendition of Pas de deux, which does not match the greatness of the music - maybe choreographer's fault? But Alina Cojocaru's graceful performance as Clara more than compensates that. This is filmmed live in such a cleaver way that you feel as if watching the performance with the audience, sharing the dreamlike atmosphere together.

If you prefer the music only, Svetlanov's Melodiya recording is even greater than this version - Tchaikovsky - The Nutcracker - Svetlanov (2 CDs), you are bound to be moved to tears.

It is a miracle that Tchaikovsky could pack so many memorable and inspired melodies into a ballet. He could have written a few more symphonies out of the wonderful themes and motives! While Pathetique Symphony's underlying theme is death, Nutcracker is all about the wonder of life - or more appropriately the life after.
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on 30 May 2009
I have 2 dvd versions of this wonderful ballet, but this is by far the better one.

I love all the magic trickery & the second half, the 'disvertissment', is a lot more interesting, as the young lovers take part in it - rather than just sitting watching.

The dvd extras are good too, especially how the transformation scene was created.

Not cheap - but worth the price!
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on 20 May 2004
I remember this version of The Nutcracker being broadcast live on BBC television. It was a gala production to mark Anthony Dowell's retirement in, I think, 2001, which explains why he has such an unusually prominent part as Herr Drosselmeyer. He uses his glittering blue and silver cape to full effect in Act 1 when he does his magic tricks, and in Act 2 he accompanies Clara and the Nutcracker Prince to the Land of Sweets and introduces each dance with a matador-like swirl of his cloak, as though he is magic-ing the dancers on to the stage.
Alina Cojocaru is a beautiful dancer and an ideal Clara, and she steals the show in Act 1, but instead of sitting in a box at the side of stage to watch the dances in Act 2, as usually happens, she joins in most of them. She and the Nutcracker also weave in and out in the snowflakes waltz which, I felt, distracted attention from this exquisite interlude. Clara is also encouraged by Drosselmeyer to join in the Dance of the Flutes which I found rather irritating because it focussed attention on her rather than on the four 'flautists' and spoilt the symmetry of the dance. She dances superbly, of course, but I still think she was surplus to requirements in some of the dances. Miyako Yoshida is a brilliant Sugar Plum Fairy ably supported by Jonathan Cope as her Prince, and there is much to enjoy in this excellent DVD.
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on 3 January 2012
The 2000 Royal Opera House Nutcracker was an outstanding version of the ballet.
It is presented as the stage version all camera angles from auditorium.
The sound quality is good. the sound of dancers can be heard but muted, as is the audience applause.
Although the lighting has made some concessions to television the theatrical stage lighting does overdo the colour cast - too blue for snowflake scene too pink for sugar plum fairy scene
This did look great in the Opera House at a live performance but not so good for TV.
The NTSC version which seems to be the only one available does play on British equipment but the resolution is 720x480 pixels with a frame rate of 29fps.
The result is a slightly "softer" picture.
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on 13 February 2012
Undoubtedly one of the best ballet's produced by the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, although now 12 years ago it may never be surpassed. Wonderful performances, superb costumes and clever sets. A very special way to introduce ballet to children of all ages as well as adults.
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on 18 March 2013
Apart from the 1985 production with Anthony Dowell this, to date, is my favourite Nutcracker. Costume, orchestration, choreography and overall production are very hard to fault
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on 2 February 2013
This is a Fantastic production of the much loved Nutcracker story. There are many versions - but this is the best. It's expensive, but worth it :-)
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