The Nutcracker: The Royal Ballet [DVD]
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DVD Special Features
The Transformation Revealed behind the scenes secrets of the spectacular Christmas tree scene
Illustrated booklet with synopsis and biographies in English, French and German
Producer Sir Peter Wright on the Royal Ballet production
Sir Anthony Dowell on the role of Herr Drosselmeyer
Fixed wide shots of the Snowflakes and Transformation Scenes
Subtitles: French, German
Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker ballet has had many facelifts over the years. Peter Wright's Royal Ballet production is among the most imaginative, bringing together the narrative and fantasy aspects with relish. The first half of Act 1 is made busy but low-key, moving up a gear with the majestic Christmas tree "Transformation Scene", and ending with a gorgeous "Waltz of the Snowflakes". Act 2 decks out the lengthy sequence of character dances with vivid stage sets, culminating in a moving reconciliation between the magician Drosselmeyer and his nephew. Anthony Dowell brings authority, Ivan Putrov enthusiasm to their respective roles; Alina Cojocaru is sympathetic as Clara, and Miyako Yoshida steals the show as the Sugar-Plum Fairy. The Royal Opera House Orchestra take time to adjust to Evgeny Svetlanov's spacious tempos, but the showpieces have real emotional force. A Nutcracker for today, and a Christmas treat for all ages.
On the DVD: The 16:9 anamorphic picture reproduces superbly, though rapid switches of camera angles in the ensemble scenes causes some blurring of focus. The PCM Stereo sound is equally realistic in its reproducing of the orchestra from the pit. Special features include insightful interviews with Dowell and Wright--with trilingual subtitles--a behind-the-scenes look at the "Transformation Scene", and alternative fixed wide shots of both that and the "Snowflakes" scenes. The 28 access points are given in the booklet's detailed synopsis. --Richard WhitehouseSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
A classic, I'm so glad I own it.
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.
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.
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!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is about as good as it gets. This is THE best Nutcracker I have found. You have everything and Anthony Dowell as well. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Ms. E. J. Baker
could not go wrong with this. my favourite composer plus sumptuous costumes and scenery. well satisfied.Published 9 months ago by Keith lles
A marvellous dvd. Saw this on stage so double joy for me!!Published 17 months ago by Amazon Customer
This DVD has everything I wanted - a superb performance from a wonderful cast. The sound quality and video are very good - in fact I can't fault it in any way. Read morePublished 18 months ago by C Pcawl
this is the first time I have seen the complete "Nutcracker " I thought it was excellent.Published 19 months ago by gwphamblin
A majical production,fantastic sets and wonderful dancing,I shall watch this DVD many more times.Published 19 months ago by pam ridley