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Tchaikovsky - Nutcracker (San Francisco Ballet)

Uncle Drosselmeyer: Damian Smith Clara: Elizabeth Powell [pictured] The Nutcracker Prince: Davit Karapetyan
King of the Mice: David Arce Queen of Snow: Yuan Yuan Tan King of Snow: Pierre-François Vilanoba Sugar Plum Fairy: Vanessa Zahorian
San Francisco Ballet San Francisco Ballet Orchestra Conductor: Martin West
Choreographer: Helgi Tomasson
Recorded live at the War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco, California, December 2007.

Opus Arte DVD OA1002D

A heart warming DVD of Nutcracker, filmed and televised last December.

Once again, Musical Pointers marvels at the ballet music of Tchaikovsky which has thrived, and surely will continue to do so long into the future, far more than much of his concert music which can stale with repetition and overfamiliarity (likewise Prokofiev's ballets which the composer rated low).

The extras are unusually interesting and valuable, placing the new version in the context of San Francisco itself and especially its world Fair of 1915. Choreographer Helgi Tomasson tells of the research which led to his completely newly conceived version of a ballet with whose first act he was less familiar in earlier years when he was a dancer, as he was always readying himself to appear on stage in Act 2. The scenic and costume designers let us into the secrets of their collaboration. You don't usually get all that when you go to the ballet...

Normally we wince and squirm at publicists' hyperbole, but here I am happy to leave you by endorsing Opus Arte's own welcome to this first fruit of an ongoing collaboration with San Fransico Ballet. Details and photos (also a video clip) on their website at:

http://www.opusarte.com/pages/product.asp?ProductID=265 .

We loved it, and so will our family and friends. An ideal Christmas present this December and next year too.

Peter Grahame Woolf