PBT's 'Nutcracker' begins its second decade
By Mark Kanny
Published: Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, 12:54 a.m.
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's lavish production of "The Nutcracker" begins its second decade this season, a continuing example of holiday fare that delights young and old alike. The production by artistic director Terrence Orr sets the action in Pittsburgh.
The Saturday matinee performance at the Benedum Center seemed to have a higher proportion of children than evening performances, which was audibly apparent from their laughter when Grandfather, previously stiff and feeble at the Christmas party in Act I, breaks into contemporary popular dance steps.
That's but one detail in Orr's richly conceived setting of the lengthy party scene. Soloist Eva Trapp dominated the early portion of the party, showing off her new dancing slippers. Her younger brother Fritz, perfectly played by Hanna Chen, of course becomes a problem.
Trapp was a wonderful Marie, danced with precision and excellent time. She was appealing at each stage of her development in the ballet, starting with the joy with which she acted out bits of childhood fables in her room after receiving her slippers as an early Christmas present before the party.
Nicholas Coppula offered a winning account of the Nephew, the Nutcracker and her Prince, also a portrayal which develops during the course of the ballet. He was athletic in solo work and partnered superbly with Marie both in the tentative moments of their initial attraction and more romantically later in their Pas de Deux at the end of the first act.
Drozzelmeyer's magic tricks were confidently presented by Alejandro Diaz. His life-sized animated dolls were well portrayed by Makoto Ono as Columbina, Amanda Cochrane as Columbina, and Nurlan Abougaliev as the Pirate.
The Dance of the Snow Flakes at the end of the act developed from flurries to the full ensemble of women of the corps de ballet. Orr's bold choreography was full of variety and very well performed - except for one dancer who was consistently behind when they were arranged in straight lines rotating around a central point.
Most the second act is a Divertissement for Marie and her Prince. Most impressive Saturday were the Spanish and Arabian Dances, the latter featuring sensuous performances by Christine Schwaner and Nurlan Abougaliev.
The Pas De Deux of the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier in Act II, just before the action returns from the Land of Enchantment to Marie's home, was well danced technically. Julia Erickson's precision of placement and elegance were impressive, as were Alexandre Silva's combination of speed and strength. But the pacing felt slow for these dancers, and was determined by a recording made long ago.
Given how well the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Orchestra played in "Giselle" under music director Charles Barker earlier this season, it was a reminder that the ballet should restore live music for "The Nutcracker."
Orr's multiple casting for this season's run of this ballet provided many delights during the Saturday matinee. It not only highlights the depth of talent in the company's roster of dancers, it also helps develop it.
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's production of "The Nutcracker" will be repeated at 7 p.m. Friday, and Dec. 21 and 28; 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, and Dec. 22 and 29; noon and 4:30 p.m. Sunday and Dec. 23; and noon Dec. 30. Admission is $22.75 to $95.75. Details: 412-456-6666 or www.pbt.org.
Mark Kanny is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7877 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- West Mifflin business joins forces with East Allegheny students
- Local Episcopal priest sentenced in child pornography case
- Prescription Drug Take Back Day to be observed locally
- Switch in pairings helps Penguins defensemen find groove in Game 3
- Penguins insider: Malkin found confidence in Game 3
- SCI-Pittsburgh inmate taken to AGH after ‘severe beating’
- Elizabeth council seeks $500,000 state gaming grant to aid flood recovery
- Husband to stand trial in Derry middle school teacher’s murder
- Roundup: Renovations planned for South Hills Village; Average airfares rising slowly, government reports; more
- Democrats consider Pittsburgh for 2016 national convention
- Shots fired, Monessen house hit on S. 14th St.