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Weekly Edition - Publication date:- 2017-18-11

-en Southport & Mersey Reporter

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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!


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