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Tchaikovsky - The Nutcracker  [DVD]
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Long beloved by American audiences, and the most-often shown version of the ballet on US television, this Emmy-nominated production is at last being made available in the UK. Baryshnikov was at the height of his career as a classical dancer in 1977 when he staged this beloved holiday classic for the American Ballet Theatre. Gelsey Kirkland had left the New York City Ballet to dance with the Russian superstar, and their partnership was magical. In this Soviet-influenced version, Baryshnikov casts himself as the hero who is transformed from a wooden figure to a soaring prince, and Kirkland plays an adolescent girl of delicacy and vulnerability. Alexander Minz portrays Drosselmeyer, a mysterious wizard who not only conjures the fantasy but also dances with the romantic couple. Kenneth Schermerhorn conducts the National Philharmonic in a fast-paced performance of Tchaikovsky's music. Celebrated by critics and public alike, Baryshnikov's The Nutcracker delivers a brilliant and sparkling adaptation of the famous ETA Hoffmann tale along with Tchaikovsky's classic score.
Baryshnikov's staging, thanks in the main to Kirkland's radiance, might just be the best Nutcracker of them all. --Allen Robertson, Dance Now
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Top Customer Reviews
The whole production is second rate, mostly because of lack of imagination rather than lack of resources. Sets and costumes look dull and the direction generates no excitement whatsoever.
The corps-de-ballet is mediocre, but most of the solo dancing is very good.
Baryshnikov makes a great start. His scene as the Nutcracker is wonderful for the mechanical percision of his movements, but once the mask is off, his Narcissism gets the upper hand. He dances "alone", trying to seduce the camera rather than his partner. Great dancing, but it failled to enchant me.
The opposite is true of his co-star, the lovely Gelsey Kirkland. In the beginning I was struck by how child-like she seemed. As the performance progressed I was enthralled by her grace and charm. She was a real "floater", -you think she barely touched the ground when she danced,- and she had a beautiful sense of "flowing" with the music. If I were rating her performance, I would give it 5 stars without hesitation. I think this dvd is worth viewing for her alone.
This may not be the best ever production of the Nutcracker but Baryshnikov's performance is magical. A bit of a nostalgia trip for us but also a disc well worth adding to the 'classic' productions shelf along with the rare recordings of Fontaine and Nureyev. A pity that the performance has been clipped to make space in the running time for US television advertising slots, but better than nothing.
Well worth having if you are a fan of Russian classical dancers.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
For me it is always great to see Baryshnikov dance and in this CD of the Nutcracker I was not disappointed.Published on 22 May 2014 by sheila smith
I bought it having seen Baryshnikov on White Knights and being utterly enthralled. What a disappointment this production was. Read morePublished on 31 Dec. 2013 by A.Gard
This is a great version of The Nutcracker, Baryshnikov is stupendous. Just one low point though, whatever decided Gelsey Kirkland to dance the Sugar Plum Fairy in her nightie?!!Published on 28 April 2011 by Jannan
What can I say about Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker? This is absolutely beautiful and Mikhail Baryshnikov was born to perform it. I LOVE watching it.Published on 5 Jan. 2010 by T. Corsico Piccolino
A combination of Baryshnikov and Kirkland would be expected to be interesting, but this DVD is more than that. Read morePublished on 29 Jan. 2009 by Arne Gunnarsjaa