Last night was the first time I have ever attended the ballet, and I absolutely loved it. My Mom and I headed downtown to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre dressed up to watch The Nutcracker be performed by Alberta Ballet. After the performance I witnessed last night, I will definitely be back next year, and I hope to take my oldest daughter with me.
Now just in case you do not know, The Nutcracker is about a girl named Clara, and the escapades that occur along side her Nutcracker Prince. Clara’s Christmas gift of a Nutcracker, that she receives from her Uncle Drosselmeyer, ends up coming to life in order to defeat the evil Mouse King. Through all of this she finds herself whisked away to a magical kingdom where she meets the Sugar Plum Fairy and several other characters.
This ballet is set in Imperial Russia, a time that is known for its grandeur. I loved discovering in the program that no detail went unresearched. Even the giant cutlery was depicted that would have been found in Imperial Russia. This production extravagantly displays more than a million dollars in stunning sets and costumes. Everything was incredible to see. The amount of sparkle that was across all the sets to show the whimsical, magical side of the ballet made everything so impressive. My favourite set was for the Sugar Plum Fairy and all of the snow and ice that surrounded her. The costumes were equally wonderful, and absolutely breathtaking. All of the cast twinkled in the light as they danced across the stage. Zack Brown, who is an Emmy award-winning designer, did a remarkable job on the sets and costumes.
While I may not have a background in ballet, I really appreciated Edmund Stripe’s choreography. He had the dancers fill the stage with incredible routines to the well recognized music by Tchaikovsky. I was astounded by the fact that the ballerina performing as the Sugar Plum Fairy stayed on pointe throughout one scene. The amount of skill and talent to be able to do that is unbelievable. My absolute favourite performers of the evening though, were done by those who portrayed the grandfather and Babushka. While they were portraying elderly family members they brought humour to the evening when bounding across the stage, and the grandfather’s grey hair went bobbing up and down.
The music was performed by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. If you are attending The Nutcracker while it is here, and especially if you are going with children take a moment before the ballet begins or during the intermission to go and look into the orchestra pit. I loved hearing the theatre filled with the sounds of classical music.
The Alberta Ballet performers, and all of the local young people who took part in this production did a marvellous job. I was captivated during the entire performance and went to bed that evening dreaming about the ballet. I look forward to next Christmas season and seeing who Ballet BC brings to perform The Nutcracker then. This is likely the beginning of a new holiday tradition for me and my daughters.
Tonight,December 30th at 7:30pm. So if you are in the area of The Queen Elizabeth Theatre, and looking for something to do I highly recommend going to the ballet. There is also one more performance tomorrow, December 31st @ 2pm which is a perfect show time if you are wanting to take a young child to see The Nutcracker… you can also rent seat cushions to help boost them up to see!