The Nutcracker is a beautiful holiday tradition for many of us, where you get to emerge in an enchanted world of beauty, dreams and grace. This year, like many before, I went to see The Nutcracker ballet by the Ballet Ouest de Montréal. I have to say it was a wonderful discovery for me. The ballet was presented at Pierre Péladeau Hall which is a splendid theatre. The ambiance was magical, warm and familial.
It’s a typical Christmas evening in the Stahlbaum house; guests are arriving with their marvelous gowns, all twirling, kissing cheeks. Everyone is dancing in such a dreamy way, when all of a sudden someone knocks at the door. The party is on hold. The guests take their places to welcome this unexpected interruption. It’s Mr. Drosselmeyer, Clara and Fritz uncle. And that’s where it all begins… He brings two life-sized mechanical dolls and makes them dance so beautifully that all are astonished. Clara charmed by the performance, asks her uncle to make her dance like the dolls. In a fit of jealousy Fritz pushes her and Clara feels humiliated. Uncle Drosselmever tries to comfort the child by offering her a beautiful Nutcracker! How little she knows! Later that night the Nutcracker turns into a courageous prince and they go through a night of enchanted adventures.
Throughout this incredible night Clara and the prince cross an enchanted winter landscape where the King and Queen of Snow greet them. Here I have to give a special mention to the costumes. T hey sure are all magnificent but the King and Queen’s costumes sure stole my heart. It is simply astonishing. It gives justice to the grace of these characters. Then Clara and prince arrive in the Kingdom of Sweets, Confiturembourg. To celebrate the return of their son and to thank Clara for saving him, the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Cavalier Orgeat order a great feast to be held. It’s the third tableau and we are in for a treat until the very end! The performances are incredibly well executed. I am impressed to see how even the youngest dancers are remarkably focused and graceful. The only criticism I have is that at some moments it feels like there is not enough space for all the dancers on the stage at the same time. This causes a loss of focus for the audience. The set design and the lighting combine to create such a fantastic world. It is absorbing to see the kids in the audience so fascinated. M. Claude Caron sure has something to be proud about with this production!
Thank you for that magical experience.
The Nutcracker performed by Ballet Ouest de Montréal took place December 2 and 3.