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The Nutcracker | DVD | (01/10/2001)
from £18.99 | Saving you £6.00 (24.00%) | RRP
Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker ballet has had many facelifts over the years. Peter Wright's Royal Ballet production is among the most imaginative, bringing together the narrative and fantasy aspects with relish. The first half of Act 1 is made busy but low-key, moving up a gear with the majestic Christmas tree "Transformation Scene", and ending with a gorgeous "Waltz of the Snowflakes". Act 2 decks out the lengthy sequence of character dances with vivid stage sets, culminating in a moving reconciliation between the magician Drosselmeyer and his nephew. Anthony Dowell brings authority, Ivan Putrov enthusiasm to their respective roles; Alina Cojocaru is sympathetic as Clara, and Miyako Yoshida steals the show as the Sugar-Plum Fairy. The Royal Opera House Orchestra take time to adjust to Evgeny Svetlanov's spacious tempos, but the showpieces have real emotional force. A Nutcracker for today, and a Christmas treat for all ages. On the DVD: The 16:9 anamorphic picture reproduces superbly, though rapid switches of camera angles in the ensemble scenes causes some blurring of focus. The PCM Stereo sound is equally realistic in its reproducing of the orchestra from the pit. Special features include insightful interviews with Dowell and Wright--with trilingual subtitles--a behind-the-scenes look at the "Transformation Scene", and alternative fixed wide shots of both that and the "Snowflakes" scenes. The 28 access points are given in the booklet's detailed synopsis. --Richard Whitehouse