It wouldn’t be the holidays without Drosslemeyer’s magic, Mouse King, a Sugar Plum Fairy and a little girl with a Nutcracker Prince. I have to admit that is has been a long time since I’ve actually participated in the Yuletide ritual. My children have received their Nutcracker education through video. Since I come from a modern concert background they have seen a wide spectrum of interpretations, from the classic Baryshnikov/ Gelsey Kirkland version to the Balanchine movie with the unfortunate appearance of McCauley Culkin. In our personal library we have more contemporary choices like Maurice Bejart’s autobiographical story, Matthew Bourne’s witty orphanage depiction and the piece do resistance, Mark Morris’s contemporary classic The Hard Nut.
Having said all that, since Lady H. and the Viking Princess are almost 7 and 3, I thought it was time to take the plunge and experience a live performance. We decided to run down to the Fox Theater and see how the Atlanta Ballet fares in the mix. It fares well.
The first element that distinguishes this production from the pack is that it is set in a Russian period context. The costumes in the party scene are in beautiful lush blues, purples and creams. The international guests are distinguishable with their spectacular sparkly headdresses. Drosselmeyer stood out as he swooped in with his vibrant black and red cape. The names are a bit different, for example our young protagonists name is Marya not Clara and Mother Ginger is Matrushka, in the Russian tradition. Otherwise, the story is pretty familiar with a few interesting additions.