Since 1892 audiences have enjoyed the music and ballet renditions of The Nutcracker. Sher and I and our Seattle family were blessed with the opportunity to also attend such a performance today put on by the Pacific Northwest Ballet in McCaw Hall in downtown Seattle.
No photos were allowed during the performance, and honestly photos would not do it justice anyway. You have to understand the scope of this production. Over 300 people make up the cast and crew. Costumes were made in theaters all over the Seattle area, it took so much time and effort. The sets are just magnificent. Wait till you see the snow scenes!
As we discussed the performance later we discovered that we thought all aspects of the show were simply excellent in quality. What first struck me was the beauty of the costumes. The opening scene in Act 1 takes place in the Victorian mansion, and all characters are in gorgeous 1890’s era party wear. This is where the audience is introduced to the elaborate sets and lighting as well. The mice costumes are just incredible, and battle of the Nutcracker and soldiers vs the mice and King Mouse is awesome to behold.
The ballet company is talented beyond description. All of the individuals show their dedication to their craft in every scene. The youngsters in the cast, all students at the PNB School of Ballet, were highlighted in Mother Ginger and her Polichinelles scene. Each separate scene in Act 2 showcased both solo and group choreography. These artists made you react in wonder at their skill on stage. Of special note were Juliet Prine as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Christopher D’Ariano as the Cavalier. Words are inadequate to describe their beautiful duet.
And of utmost importance to the performance is the large orchestra. PNB’s principal conductor and music director Emil de Cou is quoted in the program “We have 54 musicians in our Nutcracker orchestra, and every part that Tchaikovsky wrote is played and covered.” There are so many marvelous and familiar pieces in this production, and the orchestra brings life to them all. You’ll find yourself smiling when your recognize a number being played.
What an outstanding performance in an outstanding venue. Seattle is fortunate to have the Pacific Northwest Ballet. Yes, we most assuredly recommend The Nutcracker.