Dr Gemma Regan
I'm a writer, arts reviewer, a scientist, a UFO researcher and a Radio host for 4ZZZ 102.1FM with my show The Witching Hour exploring the paranormal, conspiracy and the esoteric. www.4zzzfm.org.au/program/the-witching-hour
The Nutcracker is Brisbane Christmas Tradition
This jump could definitely be a Nutcracker!
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas as the annual Queensland Ballet's production of The Nutcracker returns for its fifth year at the QPAC in Brisbane!
The Nutcracker is a magical Christmas tale which has become an annual tradition for lovers of the theatre here in Brisbane. It is a ballet of two acts, choreographed by Ben Stevenson in 1976,
and based on the tale of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by ETA Hoffmann in 1816, and the Alexandre Dumas' adapted story, The Nutcracker.
A Russian story of fantasy borne in the world of the dreams of a girl named Clara (Mia Heathcote) who receives a wooden Nutcracker toy as a gift for Christmas. Clara is awakened at midnight by giant mice attacking her but she is defended by the valiant Nutcracker (Zhi Fang) and his toy-soldier army. She then embarks on a mystical winter journey with the Prince (Alexander Idaszak) through the Land of Snow where she meets the Snow Queen (Yanela Pinera), across the Lemonade Sea and into the Kingdom of Sweets where they meet the Sugar Plum Fairy (Neneka Yoshida.) Clara and the Prince are entertained throughout the night with a series of beautiful dances including an Arabian dance, a Spanish, a Russian and even a Chinese dance.
The talents of the Queensland Ballet were showcased in this beautiful production, displaying an array of talents with their pirouettes, and gravity-defying leaps, causing the audience to gasp and whoop in amazement. Even the children in the first half were in perfect time as they marched and danced at the Christmas party.
The costumes, designed by a large team under the guidance of Artistic Director Li Cunxin, were intricate and vibrant, displaying an eclectic mix of styles through the ages. The classic pink and white tutus were delicate and pretty like perfectly iced cakes causing the envy of the youngest audience members. The party frocks and scenery in the first half of the play personified the vision of a 19th century European Christmas, complete with a large decorated Tannenbaum (Christmas tree) surrounded by pretty gifts.
When Clara fell asleep cuddling the Nutcracker, she was awoken by a remote-controlled lifelike mouse scuttling across her room, followed by very life-like mice-costumed ballet dancers.
The Land of Snow was a picturesque winter wonderland garnished with frosted ballerinas and a Lemonade Sea which Clara and the Prince crossed in a giant swan, causing the little girls in the audience to squeal with delight. As the half time curtain closed, the audience were thrilled and surprised to be a part of the winter experience as a flurry of 'snow' fell from the ceiling coating the theatre goers in tiny bubbles.
Of course, The Nutcracker is also renowned for its beautiful musical accompaniment, composed by Tchaikovsky as The Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a. The 20-minute suite accompanying the dancers at the Kingdom of Sweets has been used in adverts and shows worldwide and includes the dance of The Sugar Plum Fairy. The Queensland Symphony Orchestra was flawless in their accompaniment throughout the evening, weaving a musical story with skills worthy of any international orchestra. The benefits of a live orchestra cannot be fully appreciated until you have seen The Nutcracker performed with a prerecorded score. The music was rich and full conjuring up a bewitching musical spell throughout the evening.
The Queensland Ballet and Queensland Symphony Orchestra's production of The Nutcracker is an entrancing magical spectacle, perfect to get you into the Christmas spirit.