The opening bars of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker will always get my heart pounding; I'm suddenly transported back to my 10-year-old self standing backstage in my costume, awaiting the feeling of those warm lights beating down and blinding me so all I can do is point my toes, hit my marks and smile on a cold December evening. Dancing ballet for 15 years will do that to you, especially if 10 of them involved performing in The Nutcracker every winter.
Sitting in my folding chair on Wednesday night at the Hatch, I was mesmerized by the Boston Landmarks Orchestra's celebration of Tchaikovsky's ballets in collaboration with the Boston Ballet. I was thrilled to see the first time these two institutions worked together to create a spectacular homage to one of my favorite composers. The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and Sleeping Beauty were all explained and explored, welcoming the packed outdoor audience to a shared fantasy of weightlessness, tragedy, and love. Jonathan McPhee, guest conductor and Boston Ballet Music Director and Principal Conductor, charmingly provided the plot context for the various excerpts from the ballets as well as a bit of Tchaikovsky's biography. I'm looking forward to seeing this evening of dance and music become a Boston tradition.
The show-stopper for me was the White Swan Pas de Deux performed by principals Lorna Feijoo and Nelson Madrigal. I can't think of a better way to portray early romance than through this piece.
Unless it's Romeo & Juliet, composed by Prokofiev, which the Boston Ballet will perform this fall.
On another note, who knew that the bear costume from Boston Ballet's The Nutcracker was made of tulle?