The Nutcracker Review -
Russian State Ballet and Opera House
Review by Dasha Ibrajeva...
WHEN I was a small girl, I remember I
bought a perfume from a gypsy guy somewhere nearby Riga central bus station. He
swore it was original and very expensive flacon that he got from a luxury
fragrance shop just around the corner. Of course he gave me a "good offer"
and I naively bought the scented sealed box with a €90 price tag on it. I think
you can already imagine what happened next... Why do I tell you this story?
Simply because the Nutcracker performed by Russian State Ballet and Opera House
that I saw at Preston Guild Hall on 13 November 2017, in my opinion, has nothing
to do with Russian Ballet!
After seeing an absolutely phenomenal production of Swan Lake by Moscow City
Ballet a few years ago, I was very happy to find out that another Russian
classical ballet company was returning to Preston. I already had a chance to see
the Nutcracker Ballet before, so I roughly knew what to expect and I literally
couldn't wait to get my first early taste of Christmas. But something went wrong
that night... Possibly the Charter Theatre stage was too small... perhaps there
was a force majeure with the special effects...maybe the proper lighting was out
of order...I have no idea what happened, but almost throughout the whole
performance I had a feeling like I'm attending my nephew's school play. There
were absolutely no any lighting sequences in place, set design and decorations
were not inspiring and the performance of the dances had a lot to be desired,
however some individual dancers were quite impressive! You might think I demand
too much, but let me remind you that the single ticket price for the show was
£35, which in my opinion does not equate to the performance at all.
The only thing that stood out to me was the live orchestra with over 30
musicians, but again, I found that acoustics at the Charter Theatre didn't allow
the audience to fully enjoy the beauty and scale of the music.
Sadly, I would not recommend seeing the Nutcracker performed by Russian State
Ballet and Opera House in its current format. If you still want to treat
yourself to the world's most famous Christmas ballet, better go and see Moscow
City Ballet or Birmingham Royal Ballet performances. But this is solely my
personal view, and how we all know, there's no accounting for taste!
1 out of 5
Everton Park Lifestyles operator sought
A search is set to get underway for an
operator to run Lifestyles Everton Park Sports Centre, with the aim of securing
a sustainable future for the site. A report to Liverpool City Council's Cabinet
meeting, on Friday, 24 November 2017, recommends an 8 week consultation with users,
staff, residents and businesses to gauge views on a third party taking over the
day to day management of the swimming pool, gym and sports facilities.
It follows positive, informal approaches from several external organisations
interested in operating the site; which was built in 1979, with the swimming
pool added in 1984. 1 of the City Council's key aims is to ensure that there will be continued
community access to facilities, including by Schools, such as Notre Dame Catholic
College, which use the sports centre on a weekly basis for core and additional
The site, which costs £540k a year to run, is 1 of 10 indoor sport and leisure
facilities operated by Liverpool City Council under the Lifestyles
Consultation will start on Monday, 4 December 2017 and last for 8 weeks. It will
online questionnaire (hard copies will be available).
► A dedicated
email box for comments.
► Meetings with stakeholders eg:- Schools, clubs etc.
► A public meeting (date and location to be confirmed in the near future)
Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said:- "We need to find £90 million of
savings over the next 3 years, and this means having a long, hard look at every
building we operate.
There is interest from other established organisations in regards to running
Everton Park, and at a time when we have to make significant savings, it is
prudent to look at what third parties think could be achieved to improve the
facilities for local people.
We have a good track record of transferring other Council buildings over to
partner organisations who in turn have the ability to be able to attract
investment and improve facilities.
As part of providing a sustainable, efficient and cost effective service, we
have committed to investing into leisure over the next two years, but this
investment cannot sustain all of the Lifestyles facilities in the long term. By
looking at different way of working with the Everton Park facility, we see this
as the start of a long term vision for the service. I would like to reassure
people who use Everton Park that this is just the start of the process and we
will be keeping them in touch with developments over the next few months."
The City Council has committed to supporting its leisure facilities until 2019
at the least, and is looking at each site to make sure the Lifestyles service is
cost effective and sustainable in the long term.
It is hoped that interviews with a shortlist of potential third parties will
take place at the end of February 2018 and a final decision made at a Cabinet
meeting in the March 2018.