Royal Opera House
Wednesday, 10th January 2018
Nutcracker – 01/10/2018
Clara: Meaghan Grace Hinkis
Hans-Peter: Alexander Campbell
Sugar Plum Fairy: Melissa Hamilton
Prince: Ryoichi Hirano
Herr Drosselmeyer: Alastair Marriott
Rose Fairy: Laura McCulloch
Well, I hope your Christmas break was good and filled with joy, and I wish you all a very Happy New Year! Mine was pretty jam packed with 25 days of Nutcracker’s madness, festive decor at home, holiday cards’ writing and crazy last minute gift shopping.
Being home was good, but I was so tempted to jump on a British Airways flight and run to the Royal Opera House for a much needed Nutcracker treat – my Royal blues were so harsh I even decorated my family’s Christmas Eve’s cake taking inspiration from Sugar Plum Fairy’s tutu (I’ll attach a pic of it below).
So, five weeks later, many missed Nutcracker and the heart-aching fact of not being there when the Duchess of Cambridge attended (I’ll never forgive myself for this, but at least I bought the cape she wore on the occasion, and I love it so much), I’ve been back at the ROH for Nutcracker closing night (sigh). Seriously, somebody give me a Nutcracker dvd now – I need more Christmas in my veins.
Keeping Christmas vibes in high spirits – even though the start of a new university term is seriously trying to kill the festive cheer, along with the awareness of how hard will be going back to the barre after the holidays – the curtains opened on the joyous Christmas party at the Stahlbaums. Theirs is the celebration you want to attend, and bring to the stage such a nostalgia of Christmas shenanigans and magic with those magnificent Victorian setting full of amazing details: Sir Peter Wright’s enchanting work is always the best idea to forget stress and duties after the hard ‘back to college’ dark time of the year.
Seriously, he’s so great! Staging Nutcracker at 91 must take huge efforts, and his Giselle will open later next week, he really is a force of nature.
I had never seen Meaghan Grace Hinkis as Clara before, and I was looking forward to her performance alongside Alexander Campbell (replacing Benjamin Ella).
I really enjoyed her Clara, she was fresh and impressively precise in her technique, and Alexander was great as per usual.
Melissa Hamilton is not the most perfect of Sugar Plums, way to poised and with an eternal non smiley face. I’ve seen many Sugar Plum Fairies so far, and not surprisingly my favourites are Marianela and Lauren, which I cannot avoid comparisons with: their dancing were so crystalline, Marianela’s aliveness was nothing but magical, and Lauren’s lyrical musicality was just lovely, whilst Melissa seemed a bit lost in the grandeur of the role.
Rio, replacing Valery Hristov, showed impeccably mannered partnering to Hamilton, but I felt no chemistry between them, and Laura McCulloch’s Rose Fairy was disappointingly lacking of elegance and technically poor.
I loved Olivia Cowley’s exotic Arabian, she was majestic and impeccable, whilst Leo Dixon performed amazingly in the Chinese dance. Great Trepak as well, even though the wardrobe malfunction with the belt, and I thoroughly liked the Mirlitons, danced by Anna Rose O’Sullivan (which also performed an impeccable Vivandiere in act 1), Camille Bracher, Chisato Katsura and Leticia Dias.I loved Olivia Cowley’s exotic Arabian, she was majestic and impeccable, whilst Leo Dixon performed amazingly in the Chinese dance – great Trepak as well, even though the wardrobe malfunction with the belt. I thoroughly liked the Mirlitons, danced by Anna Rose O’Sullivan (which also performed an impeccable Vivandiere in act 1), Camille Bracher, Chisato Katsura and Leticia Dias, and remarkable David Donnelly as one of the flower escort cavaliers in act 2.
On Instagram many were asking about my stories after the much talked Bolle’s program on Italy’s main national tv channel on New Year’s Day (called “Roberto Bolle – Danza con me”): well, I’m not saying the dancing in general was bad (even though I did not enjoy it, apart for Polina Semionova’s pieces), but I am so deeply saddened for the concept of it. How could one be so narcissistic to be personally conducting a whole 3hours program all about the celebration of his person? How could one say he’s the only Italian dancer on earth? Doesn’t he think that, by doing so, he’s denigrating all the other talents around the world? Yes, the fact that he’s taking dance and ballet and making them accessible to everyone is remarkable, but the problem is that the whole country believes all that bullshit said on tv – you know, when brainwashing is included in the tv fees…
When did ballet turn into commercial? That was self-propaganda, not art!
By the way, I can’t wait for next Christmas already, I hope Kevin will bring back this classic once again as it is THE festive must: its story’s sugar-coated plot involves such fairytale features and it’s all about traditions, establishing itself as Nutcracker’s best production so far.
See you later next week with Giselle opening night!