BWW Review: MOSCOW BALLET'S GREAT RUSSIAN NUTCRACKER 25TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR Enchants at The Oncenter Crouse Hinds Theatre
The Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker has once again returned to Syracuse, New York for two performances at The Oncenter Crouse Hinds Theatre. This annual tour, produced by Akiva Talmi, is a holiday tradition that many look forward to seeing again and again - and for good reason; it is breathtakingly inspiring.
The story begins with Uncle Drosselmeyer (a poised, mysterious, and confident Maksym Bernadskyi) finishing up his life size magical toys - the sweet Kissy Doll (Iryna Borysova), the jester-like Harlequinn doll (Ivan Sitnikov), and the energetic Moor dolls (featured artists Sergey Chumakov and Elena Petrichenko). Drosselmeyer brings his magical toys to the Christmas Eve party at the Stahlbaum's (Olena Pikarska/Yuriy Kuzo) home where they put on quite the entertaining show for the children and adults in attendance. Maksym Bernadskyi starts the show strong as Drosselmeyer, and is spectacular and elegant throughout.
The party also features a puppet show to entertain the children, including Masha (Veronika Hordina). However, little does she know that her future dream for that Christmas Eve night is being foreshadowed in the performance. Masha receives a Nutcracker doll from Drosselmeyer and the mischievous Fritz (Zhan-Mishel Panchuk) breaks it with a sword. After the guests leave the Christmas Eve party, Masha goes to sleep and dreams that mice and The Rat King (Vladyslav Yevtushenko) come to duel with her brave Nutcracker in an epic battle. Masha then journeys with her Nutcracker Prince (Konstatin Vinvoy) through the Snow Forest meeting Russian Father Christmas "Ded Moroz" and Snow Maiden "Snegurochka" who bring them to the Land of Peace and Harmony.
Act II then begins in the Land of Peace and Harmony, featuring Moscow Ballet's exclusive Dove of Peace (Elena Petrichenko/Sergey Chumakov) dance. "2 dancers, 1 Dove of Peace," inspired by Stanislav Vlasov's (original choreographer for the Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker in 1993) similar work in the 1950's, showcases the couple's immense technical skills, athleticism, strength, and grace in a breathtaking way. Petrichenko and Chumakov's chemistry and passion is hypnotizing. Their spectacular white costumes, meticulously designed by Arthur Oliver, further the impact of the performance. Each costume features a feathered wing on one arm so as the two dance together, a single dove is created. All in all, it was one of the most beautiful dances I have ever seen.
Emissaries from all over the world then perform dances from their far off lands, including the Chinese Variation (Kaede Kojo/Vladyslav Yevtushenko), French Variation (Iryna Borysova/ Oleksii Potomkin), the high energy Russian Variation (Anna Bogatyr/Dmytro Bodyan), and the Spanish Variation (Su Tanaka/ Borys Iastrub). The intricate Arabian Variation is the most memorable. Featured dancers Elena Petrichenko and Sergey Chumakov steal the show once again with their acrobatic skills and seductive passion. They dazzle when Chumakov effortlessly flips and lifts Petrichenko. Their partnership is truly something very special and their jaw dropping dance moves are truly hypnotic.
Next comes another memorable moment - the Waltz of the Flowers performed by the corps de Ballet. They are truly magnificent as they dance in synch while wearing Arthur Oliver's stunning, flowing costumes.
In appreciation for the lovely performances and gifts that Masha and the Nutcracker Prince received they dance the Pas de Deux as a gift to their new friends. Veronika Hordina ensures this dance is memorable thanks to her amazing grace, passion, and facial expressions - she's always in character and this dance was no exception. Not only is her dancing superb, her acting stands out as well. Konstatin Vinvoy is a strong partner as the Nutcracker Prince. He is confident, strong, and fierce.
While the experienced professionals undoubtedly deliver exceedingly wonderful performances so too do the children from a local dance studio. Dance Centre North, directed by Cathy Napolitano Mucci, is celebrating 25 years of partnership with the Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker. The young ballerinas charm throughout the ballet as party guests, mice, snowflakes, snowmaidens, snowsprites, and much more.
Carl Sprague's set design also impresses. His perfectly flowing set transports us to the beautiful places that Masha visits in the Land of Peace and Harmony, as well as the Stahlbaum's grand home. I particularly enjoyed watching the tree grow larger and wider in Masha's dream. It was truly stunning. I especially loved all the intricately designed ornaments on the tree. All of Sprague's backdrops for the individual scenes were creative and brilliantly designed.
The Moscow Ballet's 25th Anniversary tour of the Great Russian Nutcracker is a definite must-see if you are lucky enough to live in a city where it is playing this year. The show enchants, excites, and hypnotizes and leaves the audience wanting more and more. It is a Holiday treat that will not disappoint, complete with some of the most amazing dancing, sets, and costumes you could ever hope to see.
Running time: Approximately two hours with one twenty minute intermission.
Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker played The Oncenter Crouse Hinds Theatre for two performances on December 17, 2017.
For tickets and information about the tour, click here.
For information on Dance Centre North, click here.
For tickets and information on upcoming productions at The Oncenter Crouse Hinds Theatre, click here.