This new production of Nutcracker is ambitious with a complicated but intelligent libretto which makes a welcome change for the audience.
Author - Kevin Ng
Kevin Ng is based in Hong Kong and writes about dance for a number of publications including the Hong Kong Economic Journal, The Financial Times, the St. Petersburg Times, Ballet Review and Ballet 2000.
Hong Kong Ballet presented a diverse and well-balanced mixed programme in early November, consisting of two premieres and a revival of a major work.
I saw the first cast led by Jin Yao, the top ballerina in the company. Her acting was superb, and her dancing too had a warm glow throughout.
The whole troupe’s dedication and excellence in performance was most commendable, if only there were brighter sections to provide a better contrast to the pervasively dark and mournful tone of this piece.
The story is clearly narrated and easy to follow. Harangozo’s choreography is proficient overall though not particularly inventive. The two pas de deux are warm though lacking emotional depth.
Keshyshev made a remarkable debut as Albrecht, partnering Zhang Si Yuan who was also dancing Giselle for the very first time. Both dancers were so confident, and assured, that it was hard to believe that they were actually making debuts...
A highlight of the Mariinsky Festival this year was a performance dedicated to the Mariinsky prima ballerina, Diana Vishneva...
...in late March the troupe revived Turandot, created in 2003 by the Australian choreographer, Natalie Weir, and one of the best works premiered during the tenure of the former artistic director, Stephen Jefferies.
Local audiences also saw the return of the Lyon Opera Ballet. Their mixed programme consisted of two ballets by Benjamin Millepied, a ballet by Maguy Marin, and best of all, Balanchine’s masterpiece, Concerto Barocco, staged by Nanette Glushak.
The local audiences warmly welcomed the long-overdue return of the Hamburg Ballet which was appearing for the third time in the festival. For this 40th anniversary festival the Hamburg company brought both a plotless ballet and a narrative ballet by its renowned choreographer, John Neumeier.