'The Nutcracker' performed by Ballet De Monte Carlo..
(photo credit: Mari-Laure Brianne)
Ballet De Monte Carlo
Monaco, December 26
Premiering a new ballet, choreographer and artistic director of the renowned
Monte Carlo’s ballet Jean Christophe Maillot couldn’t have asked for a more
festive occasion, celebrating 20 fruitful years with the company. Outdoors, the
snow-capped mountains towering over the miniature principality – a notch larger
than the Vatican state – inspire the opulent season’s
Inside, to the audience’s delight a line of dignitaries
including reigning Prince Albert II, princesses Caroline de Hanover – Grace
Kelly’s daughter and patron of the company, and others, skipped the royal box
and sat among the crowd. The Nutcracker
set to the music of Tchaikovsky
is one of the most beloved classical ballets. The story takes place on
the eve of Christmas, and is traditionally performed at this time of year.
Maillot, like a long line of choreographers in past decades, had opted for an
ambitious reconstruction based quite lightly on the original linear narrative
and characters, and more heavily on a medley of his own ballets, deploying an
innovating dramaturgical approach.
The stage actions intertwined various
narratives and perspectives, from backstage rehearsal scenes to a surreal
fantasy land, as the storyline hops among Maillots former works, leading the
audience on a turbulent voyage of thematic riddles. You are whisked, for
instance, from Romeo and Juliet to Midsummer’s Night Dream, through Cinderella
to the circus and back, for starters.
One minute you identify with the
little girl Clara, dreaming about her Christmas toy soldier turned beau, and the
next, the impish Puck from Midsummer’s Night rides a flower-shaped Segway and
spreads love dust. Confused? So were lots of out-of-town people who missed the
scattered references to Maillot’s former creations. But Maillot, in the end,
only wanted to have a great celebration, salute his company with its 50 strong
dancers, and have tongue-in-cheek fun. And it actually was.
colorful stage, grandiose costumes, the renowned Monte Carlo philharmonic
orchestra playing live for a terrific group of dancers, including the company’s
regal Bernice Coppieters, and the amazing, sparkly dancer Jeroen Verbruggen, who
stole the show.
At the end, when a thick shower of paper flakes and
ribbons flooded the stage and hall, all you could see were grins and smiles.