Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Nutcracker- The Story Of Clara|
Actor: Vicki Attard
Director: Graeme Murphy
Genres: Special Interests, Educational, Musicals & Performing Arts
Graeme Murphy's production of Nutcracker: The Story of ClaraIn a stunning departure from tradition, Graeme Murphy transforms Nutcracker into a production which is uniquely Australian. The ballet is the story of Clara, once... more »
A Modern Ballet Patterned After The Nutcracker.
J. M WILINSKY | teaneck, NJ United States | 11/01/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a wonderfully fresh ballet utilizing some of the concepts of the Nutcracker, as well as the Nutcracker score, but very different from the usual Nutcracker versions. It is a biographical ballet of an actual Russian ballerina who emigrated to Australia in the 1940's. The story is very sweet and poignant with a surprising ending(I won't give it away!). The choreography is purely classical and very interesting. There are wonderful twists and contrasts. The basic structure is guided by the Nutcracker story, but other than a few actual Nutcracker elements(like mice and snowflakes), it sticks to the biography. The sets and costumes are just great. This is an actual performance in front of an audience and not a studio performance. it seems as though the entire Australian Ballet was used in this performance, including most of the principal dancers as well as the corps de ballet(the ballet was preformed in 1994). The image and sound are first class as well. If you want an outstanding Nutcracker ballet far different from the norm, but still along classical lines, you will appreciate this."
A common man's point of view.
Richard Rawls | Dublin Ga USA | 01/10/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this ballet a year ago in a three set package of Tchaikovsky Ballets. When I first viewed it I said, "I don't like this version of 'The Nutcracker'". I viewed it again a few days ago and discovered that something was wrong with my brain, it had not seen things correctly. I was completely wrong about what I said to myself. This is a wonderful heart warming story of an aging ballerina and emigre from Russia, living alone under poor circumstances in Australia. Her friends visit her at Christmas time, and they reminisce about the old days when they were all dancers. Colin Peasley, (Dr. Coppelius in the Australian Ballet version of "Coppelia"), plays the part of one of her old friends.....The Australian Ballet - Coppelia.....You simply MUST have their "Coppelia". Justine Summers (see below) is in that too, but the star is Lisa Pavane as Swanilda.
The elder Clara (she was 72 when she starred in this production in 1994), overexerts herself and her doctor puts her to bed, and then the "dream" begins. Everything from the classical Nutcracker is there, the Christmas tree (does not grow), the Nutcracker, the Mice, the Snowflakes, All the music (a bit out of order), and all the dances. The dream takes her back to her native Russia and her training (it's wonderful how they age her), her graduation, falling in love, and the beginning of her dancing career, her travels, and finally her settling in Australia. There is truth in many of her memories, for ballet did begin in Australia when Russians on tour were stranded in Australia in the early forties at the beginning of WWII.
The elder Clara is played by Margaret Scott (who still looked good in a tutu), the ballerina Clara is played by Vicky Attard, the child Clara is played by Siobhan Elsmann, and her love object (her Doctor) is played by Steven Heathcote. Also in the cast is Justine Summers, who stars with Steven Heathcote in "Manon" by the Australian Ballet (Excellent)...Massenet - Manon / Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Royal Australian Ballet, Justine Summers....Justine is seen in several of the Nutcracker divertissements, and she is so utterly beautiful it is hard to miss her.
Music for this ballet is very good Dolby 2 and surround, filmed in the 3:4 video format, very nice sets and lighting, lots of color, especially in the second act and her training days and travel scenes. The dance of the Snowflakes is superb with a weaving formation slightly detracted from by a close-up, but still beautiful. There is some vintage footage used in this ballet to good effect. Over-all, I think you will enjoy this version of "The Nutcracker". ..Something different but not ruined. It's still classical ballet.........Richard."
William D. Larson | 02/11/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'll say it again: Wow! The previous two reviewers here (Wilinsky, Rawls), I say, are much too mild in their praise (even with five-star reviews). I own four other "Nutcracker" dvd's besides this one (Collier/Dowell, Royal Ballet; Kirkland/Baryshnikov, ABT; Balanchine, NYCB; Kochetkova/Karapetyan, San Francisco Ballet), and in my opinion this one easily eclipses them all. According to my aesthetic, at least, this Australia Ballet "Nutcracker" is another order of magnitude above all the others.
I needn't go into details of the ballet plot-wise (see other reviewers). But Graeme Murphy and Kristian Fredrikson: such a masterpiece! Very original, very creative, very moving. I'll put this up there with any "Swan Lake" or "Giselle" there is. Also wonderful choreographically: Beautiful pas de deux with original and magnificent lifts, and (remarkable!) lots of actual dancing for people from the quite young to the quite old. Not a trite moment in the entire ballet. Stunning and creative use of the ethnic dances from Act II. (It is now difficult for me to go back to any of the other "Nutcrackers" I own, as fine as they are, and feel satisfied. Don't deprive yourself of this dvd.)"