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9 Reviews
5 star:
 (7)
4 star:
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3 star:
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A most enjoyable and well recorded alternative to more 'traditional' settings
Prequel:
This disc was issued not long ago at more than twice the price. My well received review for that release is copy/pasted below. Many may find it even more tempting at the lower price now being asked.

..........................................
Previous release's review

This version of the Nutcracker Ballet by Wayne Eagling and Toer...
Published 10 months ago by I. Giles

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Something different
Good clean copy of this DVD. No problems at all.

The ballet is very different to the traditional version of Nutcracker and it takes a while to get used to the different characters and a very different story.I am not a big fan of Wayne Eagling and found the use of so many ‘gadgets’ annoying. The dancing is superb especially of the Prince and the...
Published 5 months ago by Mrs. M. M. Spencer


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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A most enjoyable and well recorded alternative to more 'traditional' settings, 10 Sep 2013
By 
I. Giles (Argyll, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Prequel:
This disc was issued not long ago at more than twice the price. My well received review for that release is copy/pasted below. Many may find it even more tempting at the lower price now being asked.

..........................................
Previous release's review

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. Instead, the same musical sequence is used for alternative character dances with quite different choreography and which I personally enjoyed very much. The concept of these significant changes is significant and will be a major factor for future purchasers to consider.

The scenery settings are sumptuous apart from the correctly conceived and somewhat austere setting of Clara's own home which is contrasted with the party setting of act 1 and the magical setting of act 2. To my eyes it all seems totally acceptable for Amsterdam in 1810 and also visually attractive. The same can be said of the costumes throughout. The dancing as performed by Anna Tsygankova as Clara, Matthew Golding as the Prince and James Stout as the Nutcracker is expertly done and the choreography is both interesting and delightful in my opinion. The corps de ballet are of the same high standard as are all the other highlighted members of the cast such as the Mouse King, his entourage and the various party guests and family members.

The music is well played by the orchestra under the baton of Ermanno Florio and this is well presented in clear, full sound in both DTS-HD 5.1 and stereo. The imaging is crisp and precise without any evidence of movement blur. The camera work provides a satisfying balance of close detail and more panoramic views.

There is a 27 minute bonus feature which focuses on interviews with the choreographers, the dancers and provides plenty of backstage footage. This is an interesting bonus and is well done as an illuminating addition to the performance of this production.

This is a very enjoyable production indeed. It offers a refreshing experience to be enjoyed as an equally satisfying alternative to the more traditional Petipa-based versions or the Peter Wright Royal Ballet version for example. Much will depend on individual purchaser's responses to the overall concepts of the Dutch setting and the use of a magic lantern as a sort of time machine to link the two acts together into more of a continuous story line and as described above.

Provided that this necessary flexibility to the production can be achieved I would suggest that this is a very worthwhile and enjoyable experience and would expect it to give much pleasure to many future purchasers.

............................................

Some dialogue from the comments section that may offer further help:

I thought that you might like to know that before I buy a recording I now look through all the reviews to see if you have posted one. Your assessments and opinions are invaluable. Thank you. (US review)

I particularly like your format of review. They give the prospective purchaser an idea of the style of the playing and relevant comparisons. They are succinct. Keep up the good work! (UK review)

I'm sure there are many other serious collectors, besides myself, who wait for your synopsis and opinion before spending their hard-earned money on new releases...
Thank you (UK review)

I'd also add to this. When you in particular review a particular CD, I pay pretty close attention. I would say the characteristics of your reviews I value the most are the detail and general sense of balance and fairness that comes across. That's a great help. Thanks for taking the time on your reviews. (US review)

............................................

A note to the anonymous negative voter:

The voting system is specifically only about reviews being 'helpful' or 'unhelpful'
Goodness only knows what you find to be `unhelpful' about this review.

A negative vote without reason is not helpful to anyone. It does not contribute in any useful way to discussion so no-one can learn from you.
If you have a different view or find the review 'unhelpful' then explain, giving your reasons, and share your views in the comment option as intended.

Significantly, I know of at least one good reviewer who has finally given up with anonymous negative votes such as has been experienced here and deleted all his reviews. The loss to the whole collecting community is his considerable knowledgeable advice and the gain is his own free time. He cannot be persuaded to return to writing reviews despite my repeated encouragement.

Anonymous negative votes without supporting reasons can have other negative results that you may not have thought of.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A refreshing new Nutcracker, 25 April 2013
By 
Satish Kamath (India) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker/ The Mouse King (Arthaus Musik: 108054) [Blu-ray] [2012][Region Free] (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. Little Clara Big Clara
The twelve year old who dances little Clara (Amalja Yuno) for almost all of the first Act till the dream comes on and grows up to be Tsygankova. Her acting, dancing are great for her age. But her sheer emotiveness can give a run for the money of most of the big big ballerinas. Totally enchanting. The concept of Clara growing up in the dream is just spot on as an ingredient to this version.

These two points swing the rating according to me to 5 stars.

As far as the reworked plot is concerned, I am not really in a position to understand why the Mouse King just lets Nutcracker get away (Clara hitting the Mouseking with the slipper is avoided here) after routing his army and snatching away his sword. It is beyond me. Then he has to appear again in the Act II to just get killed in a duel. Just doesn't jell well in the plot. Maybe I have not understood something about this irrationality.
As far as the re-choreographed dances in the second act go, well, they are quite different, pleasant but many reflect on the lack of real bench-strength in the Dutch ballet, although the dancers were dancing well to their capabilities.

All in all, a refreshingly good, well performed Nutcracker that does the Dutch proud. Buy it.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A most enjoyable and well recorded alternative to more 'traditional' settings, 13 May 2012
By 
I. Giles (Argyll, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker/ The Mouse King (Arthaus Musik: 108054) [Blu-ray] [2012][Region Free] (Blu-ray)
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. Instead, the same musical sequence is used for alternative character dances with quite different choreography and which I personally enjoyed very much. The concept of these significant changes is significant and will be a major factor for future purchasers to consider.

The scenery settings are sumptuous apart from the correctly conceived and somewhat austere setting of Clara's own home which is contrasted with the party setting of act 1 and the magical setting of act 2. To my eyes it all seems totally acceptable for Amsterdam in 1810 and also visually attractive. The same can be said of the costumes throughout. The dancing as performed by Anna Tsygankova as Clara, Matthew Golding as the Prince and James Stout as the Nutcracker is expertly done and the choreography is both interesting and delightful in my opinion. The corps de ballet are of the same high standard as are all the other highlighted members of the cast such as the Mouse King, his entourage and the various party guests and family members.

The music is well played by the orchestra under the baton of Ermanno Florio and this is well presented in clear, full sound in both DTS-HD 5.1 and stereo. The imaging is crisp and precise without any evidence of movement blur. The camera work provides a satisfying balance of close detail and more panoramic views.

There is a 27 minute bonus feature which focuses on interviews with the choreographers, the dancers and provides plenty of backstage footage. This is an interesting bonus and is well done as an illuminating addition to the performance of this production.

I and my wife enjoyed this production very much indeed. We both found it to be a refreshing experience to be enjoyed as an equally satisfying alternative to the more traditional Petipa-based versions or the Peter Wright Royal Ballet version for example. Much will depend on individual purchaser's responses to the overall concepts of the Dutch setting and the use of a magic lantern as a sort of time machine to link the two acts together into more of a continuous story line and as described above.

Provided that this necessary flexibility to the production can be achieved I would suggest that this is a very worthwhile and enjoyable 5 star experience and would expect it to give much pleasure to many future purchasers.

........................................

Some dialogue from the comments section that may offer further help:

Retirement Home Residents LOVE this Blu-Ray, especially those with a Dutch Heritage!
It is brilliantly done, with a huge Canadian Content, from the Conductor to one of the Choreographers to two of the Male Dancers, all of whom are interviewed in the Bonus Documentary. It is a pleasure to see an alternative Cultural Setting, with Sinter Klaas and Zvart Piet doing their Dutch thing! (Is Piet in Blackface, or is he actually Black? Hard to tell.)
Nice Review, Ian, thank you! (U.S. review)

An interesting Review with lots of useful detail - thank you , Ian! (U.K. review)

I thought that you might like to know that before I buy a recording I now look through all the reviews to see if you have posted one. Your assessments and opinions are invaluable. Thank you. (US review)

I particularly like your format of review. They give the prospective purchaser an idea of the style of the playing and relevant comparisons. They are succinct. Keep up the good work! (UK review)

I'm sure there are many other serious collectors, besides myself, who wait for your synopsis and opinion before spending their hard-earned money on new releases...
Thank you (UK review)

I'd also add to this. When you in particular review a particular CD, I pay pretty close attention. I would say the characteristics of your reviews I value the most are the detail and general sense of balance and fairness that comes across. That's a great help. Thanks for taking the time on your reviews. (US review)

............................................

A note to the anonymous negative voters:

The voting system is specifically only about reviews being 'helpful' or 'unhelpful'
Goodness only knows what you find to be `unhelpful' about this review.

A negative vote without reason is not helpful to anyone. It does not contribute in any useful way to discussion so no-one can learn from you.
If you have a different view or find the review 'unhelpful' then explain, giving your reasons, and share your views in the comment option as intended.

Significantly, I know of at least one good reviewer who has finally given up with anonymous negative votes such as has been experienced here and deleted all his reviews. The loss to the whole collecting community is his considerable knowledgeable advice and the gain is his own free time. He cannot be persuaded to return to writing reviews despite my repeated encouragement.

Anonymous negative votes without supporting reasons can have other negative results that you may not have thought of.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful Video, 24 Nov 2013
By 
Mr. William V. Roper "Bill Roper" (Watford, Hertfordshire) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 29 Jun 2014
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I love it, very well danced...!!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Nutcracker plus excerpts from ArtH, 15 April 2014
By 
E. Parker "Ted" (UK) - See all my reviews
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Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Slightly different tale to the traditional Nutcracker but all the better for that. Music and Dance is excellent as expected from this company. With the Bonus of excerpts from the back catalogue a true bargain.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Something different, 16 Feb 2014
By 
Mrs. M. M. Spencer "marnie320" (Yorkshire, England) - See all my reviews
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Good clean copy of this DVD. No problems at all.

The ballet is very different to the traditional version of Nutcracker and it takes a while to get used to the different characters and a very different story.I am not a big fan of Wayne Eagling and found the use of so many ‘gadgets’ annoying. The dancing is superb especially of the Prince and the Princess ( in this version). A young Matthew Golding making his debut with the amazing Anna Tsygankova . All in all a visual pleasure but not the best version available.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Purchased as gift, 17 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This was an Xmas present for an elderly relative. Although I try to get a detailed description of how they found it I only have the enthusiastic response of ' I thoroughly enjoyed it', this therefore is all I can give you on this matter.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great version., 19 Oct 2013
By 
Mr. Trevor M. Merritt (UK) - See all my reviews
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Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A good recording of a very good production of Tchaikovsky music and the costumes were very colourful very enjoyable to all.
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