The Christmas mood by Dutch National Ballet
The Nutcracker ballet has been the main Christmas performance around the world for many years. The feeling of a miracle and a dream, the atmosphere of love and infinite beauty make Nutcracker beloved by the audience of any age. People associate their festive mood with the music by Pyotr Tchaikovsky in Russia, the UK and many European countries, the USA, Japan etc. From 1996 the Netherlands has its own version of the most famous ballet fairy tale.
Choreographers Toer van Schayk and Wayne Eagling created a Nutcracker for the spectators of nowadays, the children and adults who believe in miracles, can dream and imagine the fantastic scenes. This production saves all fairy tale traits, being exciting, inspiring and not with much of ‘sweetness’. Here we can see not an abstract German town but Amsterdam of early XIX century with the skaters on canals and beautiful forest. The set and costumes designed by Toer Van Schayk, who is a ballet dancer and a choreographer, and also a scenic and costume designer, painter, and sculptor, show the epoch and its recognizable elements very clear.
The audience around the world had a chance to see the Nutcracker by Dutch National Ballet LIVE online on 18th December and will be able to watch it on 24th December.
The children in the first act and Clara, acted firstly by a teenage girl, look very natural and cheerful, Vito Mazzeo as an extravagant but kind Drosselmeyer and Jakob Feyferlik as a guest in the ball immediately attracted the attention.
The ‘princess’ Clara by Maia Makhateli was equally youthful and vivid to the ‘teenage version’. Ideal technique and experience at the same time with the sincere charm of a starry-eyed young lady created fascinating image of Clara.
Nutcracker by Edo Wijnen was light and courageous on stage, with beautiful lines and noble stature. The Prince, Jakob Feyferlik, a winsome young man in the I act, turned into the ravishing fairy tale hero. The confident partner in Adagio and the dancer of the highest level, the young principal of the company showed his character as a sparkling Prince, with his own warmth and natural emotions at the same time.
I couldn't help but notice bright Michele Esposito as Fritz, who visibly enjoyed his role and the Nutcracker vibes.
This Nutcracker moves the audience to the 1810s and makes spectators feel absolutely the same as the young girl, Clara, charmed by a genteel young man at the family ball and could see an amazing universe in her dream. It reminded me a film of 1950s when such romantic costume stories were very popular in European cinema and Hollywood. I would advice to see the version by van Schayk and Eagling to all the ballet lovers who can’t imagine their winter holidays without Nutcracker.
Text: Julia Sumzina
Photos and video: Hans Gerritsen, Dutch National Ballet