The Nutcracker By Les Grands Ballets: A Review

The Nutcracker The Nutcracker

Everything is beautiful at the ballet! Les Grands Ballets have done it again with this year’s production of The Nutcracker by Fernand Nault. Did you know that this version is the longest running in one venue in all of Canada? Audiences have been enjoying this very version since 1964!

From the moment you join the Christmas Eve party at Clara’s house, you leave your thoughts of the outside world behind and lose yourself in the wonder that is her magical story. Growing up, my experience with The Nutcracker was limited to the pages of a pop-up book and Tchaikovsky’s music in Disney’s Fantasia. So, imagine my joy to see it come to life on the stage.

A bit of history for anyone who isn’t familiar with the story. Based on E.T.A. Hoffmann’s classic tale, Clara’s magical godfather gives her a beautiful wooden nutcracker for Christmas. Jealous, her brother, Fritz, breaks it. Luckily her godfather uses his powers to repair him. Like many of us have done, Clara sneaks downstairs in the night to check on her doll while everyone else is asleep. Startling and frightening Clara, an army of mice and rats begins battling tin soldiers from under the tree. Her Nutcracker comes to life to save her, and takes her on an adventure through beautiful, colourful and wonderful lands where she meets characters from around the world and the famed Sugar Plum Fairy.

I was particularly impressed with the children in the show. They acted and danced so well- I can’t even imagine how hard everyone must have had to work to put this production together.
The professional dancers were lovely and graceful, as you’d expect. The sets were gorgeous and I’m still imagining the scene in the Land of Snow at the end of the first Act where the lighting was cool and the snow fell gently to the stage. (Now, if only we could see some of that in real life!) And the live music by the Grands Ballet Orchestra puts it over the top.

Dah dah dah, dah dah, dah, da da da, da da da, dah da da da da…the opening notes of all the well known songs will make you hum and tap your toes along. They may also make you wish you can pirouette and leap like the wonderful dancers…but I digress. If you aren’t singing The Nutcracker Suite in your head right now, I would definitely suggest you go out and see The Nutcracker before it’s too late. I’m thinking of starting my own holiday tradition of taking my niece, Clara (!).

Fun and wonder for the whole family. Info and tickets here.

The Nutcracker at Salle Wilfred Pelletier Place des Arts (175 St Catherine St W). December 11-30, 2015.