Beware of the Mice in the Ballet!

The legendary choreographer Yuri Grigorovich is back at the “Astana Opera”. “The Nutcracker” is maestro’s third ballet to be staged at the metropolitan theatre. Recognized masterpieces of world choreography “Sleeping Beauty” and “Spartacus” staged by him were a huge hit with the Kazakhstani audience, we are confident that the ballet “The Nutcracker” – the world’s favorite enticing extravaganza with deep philosophical meaning will definitely deserve high marks our viewers. The premiere will take place on December 25, 27, 28, 30, and 31.

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The libretto for the ballet is based on Alexander Dumas father’s transcription of the tale by E.T.A. Hoffmann “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King”, created in 1844. The heart of the story is this: on the children’s Christmas ball little Marie received the gift of toys. Of these, the one she liked the most is the Nutcracker that cracks nuts with its wooden jaws. At night, Marie sees that mice are going to fight the toys, and the Nutcracker is leading the toys’ defense. Protecting her favorite, Marie throws a shoe at the Mouse King; Nutcracker-Prince inflicts the final blow. Heroes are dancing and having fun, celebrating victory over the mice army. Everyone is preparing for the royal wedding of Marie and Prince… However, what happened? Marie wakes up in a familiar room. The Nutcracker is still in her hands. All of it was just a magical dream…

In critics’ words, “in world music literature there aren’t any examples of the process of maturation of the soul of the girl playing with dolls, to the dawn of first love through the dreams of the brave, courageous hero – the process of “nurturing the senses””.

The brilliant music of the outstanding composer P.I. Tchaikovsky conveys all of the heroine’s experiences, the enormity of his musical work requires huge embodiments in dance. It should be noted that it was Yuri Grigorovich, who understood and precisely conveyed this deep work. Individual dance pieces that he created cause great emotion, in both adults and children: dancing snowflakes creating fantastic image of silent winter nature, comedic Chinese dance “tea” and dance “coffee”.

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All of the divisions in “Astana Opera” are preparing for a fabulous New Year’s premiere, ranging from scenic workshop and ending with the technical department. Prop masters are putting the finishing touches, while joking that the play is going to be snowy. Fifty pairs of snowflakes made of nylon mesh on the thin metal base will create the illusion of snow falling on the stage.

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However, that’s not all, in the prop masters’ arsenal there is a complex drum, glowing from within, made of very durable material so that the dancer can not only balance, but also to perform certain movements on top of it.

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Fully transferred production of the Bolshoi Theatre, which premiered with great triumph on March 12, 1966, will soon surprise metropolitan audience with its scale and beauty. Boat on the ropes, big and small cannon, firecrackers, sheep, fans, 22 wigs, about 200 costumes show a bright rich color palette. The set designer is People’s Artist of the USSR, laureate of Lenin’s Prize, two second-degree Stalin’s Prizes, State Prize winner Simon Virsaladze. They say about the great artist that he “dressed dance”.

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The ballet artists are carefully preparing for their parts.

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Tair Gatauov recalls that when he was a child, he wanted to perform the lead role on the big stage, but students of his age could only dance in the crowd scenes. Time passed, and now he dances the lead role. – Despite its seeming ease and dreamlike quality, this production is very complicated; it requires the dancers’ maximum efforts. I will dance the role of the Nutcracker-Prince, which involves a large number of supports; for two hours you are on stage like an “elevating crane”, – laughs Tair Gatauov.

Of course, each female dancer dreams to perform Marie (Aigerim Beketayeva, Madina Basbayeva, Gaukhar Usina), but this ballet has many bright and memorable characters – Harlequin, Columbine, He-Devil and She-Devil, Spanish, Indian, Chinese, Russian and French Dolls.

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The assistants of the choreographer Yuri Grigorovich Ruslan Pronin and Oxana Tsvetnitskaya work on this performance. The maestro himself works out the final touches.

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About 20 years ago to go to see “The Nutcracker” on a New Year’s Eve was a must-see destination for the Moscow elite. In this case, it was not necessarily to be a ballet expert – visiting the “status event” was the most important. It was particularly prestigious to see “The Nutcracker” on December 31 at the Bolshoi Theatre – it started the magical holiday. We hope that this production will be a huge success in “Astana Opera” as well.

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Especially for the youngest viewers the theatre did a morning performance. In addition, the gifts they will receive before the start of the performance were prepared.

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Photo: Copyright © Astana Opera, 2014
Photographer: Karla Nur

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