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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 22 March 2004
With the complete absence of videos from the major Russian ballet companies after 1992/3, this live recording at the Mariinsky Theatre of Vassili Vainonen's "Nutctracker" as danced by the Kirov Ballet in 1992, has now attained the status of treasurable rarity. Headed by that magnificent little jewel Larissa Lezhnina (long since a leading ballerina with the Dutch National Ballet in Amsterdam) and the charming Viktor Baranov, this recording gives a fair idea of this particular production which remains since its creation in 1938 one of Russia's most beloved "Nutcrackers". Part of Vainonen's lasting appeal is his ability to devise a choreography which superbly matches Tchaikovsky's at times monumental musical inspiration. The masterful Waltz of the Snowflakes, the Waltz of the Flowers, and the final Grand Pas de deux are excellent examples of his art.
A remarkable asset of this performance is the presence of the Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre, conducted by the incomparable Viktor Fedotov, one of the most able ballet conductors of our time.
Good video transfer and excellent digital sound.
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on 17 May 2006
I only bough this DVD at another persons suggestion as having 7 versions in my collection is a bit to Nutty. Marc Haegman has his own website with Kirov and ballet photos interviews etc. HE is right. One thing that scored this ballet for me is it is filmed live and you see round the theatre with different characters of people. Oleg Vingradov used special effects recorded seperatley and added them in to make it even more wonderful. At the start you see the house on the curtain with the snow falling and guests arriving. Victor Baranov dances in pure Kirov Style. What steals this for me though is the Pas de Deux before the Waltz of the Snow flakes. Larissa Lezina does even the most technically difficult moves with ease in the purest classical style to perfection and this has made her my favourite ballerina. 5 stars for the pas de deux alone. I even put the DVD in the player just for that pas de deux alone. Wow.

Highly recommended.
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on 27 December 2007
We bought this for our 4-year-old, and waited and waited for the piece of music that we all love..... but it never came!

This production revolves around Drosselmeyer rather than the Nutcracker;
and the Sugar Plum Fairy has been omitted, which is rather disappointing.

The Nutcracker wears a vague outfit in pale blue, not the bright traditional costume, which meant our daughter found it very difficult to identify him.

Quite pretty, and lovely accomplished ballet dancing, but not quite the traditional story we were expecting.
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on 26 November 2009
A first class performance, I had a video tape years ago. I think some reviews have got into the wrong place, It was live dancing and the "Sugar Plum Fairy" was there.
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on 28 May 2008
Having bought and been delighted with Swan Lake by the Kirov, I eagerly awaited delivery of the Nutcracker. I was not dissapointed. Just as in Swan Lake, the costumes, scenery, dancing and music are top quality.It's the type of show that brings a lump to your throat at times because of its sheer beauty and happiness, a show that you do not want to end, and when it does, makes you look forward to the next time when you can watch again.In some ways it has the edge on Swan Lake as there is a live audience, and you have the benefit of surround sound, however don't let this detract from Swan Lake, they are both unmissable.
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on 12 December 2007
This DVD is a region 0 worldwide release... Unlike the Amazon listing.. it is NTSC, Not Pal.. this is an error on the Amazon site, it has only ever been released in the UK in NTSC, it has never been released in Pal, and if you buy an original release from Any retailer it will be the Philips release on NTSC.
This should cause no problems for you on todays modern TV's & DVD players
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on 28 November 2010
I bought this at my local HMV shop yesterday, and after a watch, I must say I'm a little bit disappointed with it.
While the set, music, and effects are very good, there is something lacking in this production.

First, during the party scene, it is not easy to tell the children apart from the adults. Clara (here, for some reason, called Masha), is almost as tall as her Godfather! She and her brother look too old to be children.

Second, the Nutcracker himself. OMG what HAVE they done with him? Why the nondescript outfit? Where is his smart uniform? I thought he was supposed to look like a soldier? He doesn't look much like a nutcracker either - especially with that enormous nose! The poor soul looks like a character from a Punch & Judy show.

Third, when the party is over, Masha takes him to bed with her, so how come is he sitting under the tree when the mice appear?

Fourth, the fight between him and the Mouse King isn't much of a scrap - they could have made more of it.

Fifth, the tempo in some of the scenes is a little bit slow I think, and the dancers in the Trepak section didn't look very Russian.

Sixth, where was the Sugar Plum Fairy? Her music was there, but she wasn't.

Also, the Nutcracker was depicted as a mere toy, instead of Hoffmann's transformed nephew.

Best bit - the opulent set.
Worst bit - The toy Nutcracker
Funny bit - the old Grandfather, who looked as though he had gout, trying to dance.

This could have been better - but sadly, only an 'average' from me
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on 19 April 2012
First class production let down by average video and sound quality.
Picture 3
Sound 3
Sets 5
Dancing 5
Storytelling 3
Music making 4
Acting 3
Camera work 4
Recommended for those interested in Russian ballet performance.
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on 11 February 2014
The nutcracker is a bizarre story when you think about it but great fun to watch and hear.
On the surface a children's fairytale but underneath some dark undertones of nature overwhelming us
(the giant mice fighting toy soldiers) and of people with greater powers than ours (the magician). Very little in the way of acrobatic and fancy acrobatic dancing in this production but the colourful costumes and music and imaginative scenery make it a treat.And anyway if you watch the ice skating on the winter olympics these days you'll see that the acrobatic stunts have reduced the artistic merit of the skating too much.I cant stand watching
pairs skating anymore.But in ballets such as the nutcracker there are elegant pairs and quad dances.
Thoroughly recommended.
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on 9 January 2015
Superbly dressed, the dancing was regulated by the most protective choreography.
No one dancer was allowed to excel.
However it is still a pleasure now that my wife and zi are unable to attend live proformances.
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