Monday, July 4

Back to childhood



Music: Tchaikovsky. Performers: Ballet del Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse, Orq and Coro del Liceo. K. Belarbi, choreography and scene. M. Stieghorst, dir. musical. Date: December 30. Place: Gran Teatro del Liceo, Barcelona.

The production of ‘The Nutcracker’ that this Christmas program the Lyceum is a beautiful tribute by Kader Belarbi not only to the stagings that have preceded him, but also to the children’s stories and even the television series that marked the childhood of many of us. An exercise in nostalgia in its proper measure, emotional and that, even transgressing Tchaikovsky’s score, maintains intact the magical atmosphere that presides over this entire ballet that, without a doubt, is one of his masterpieces. The enchanting mystery of the original ETA Hoffmann tale on which it is based is also very present in every scene.

Released in 2017, Belarbi’s montage sets the action in an orphanage, where children are visited by prospective adoptive families, engage in mischief and fight over toys.

At bedtime, María (an excellent Natalia de Froberville) dreams that her favorite, the Nutcracker in the shape of a tin soldier (Ramiro Gómez Samón, impressive for its strength and grace), comes to life. And, with it, we make our way to the dream world of dreams.

The choreographer uses classical ballet as a basis, but from a clearly contemporary paradigm. Thus, you can see from references to the choreography of Balanchine to the dances of West Side Story. Visually, we find reminiscences that go from ‘Pippi Longstocking’ to ‘The Wizard of Oz’. An update, therefore, colorful and full of charm, although not especially suitable for the most purists.

In this sense, it is worth mentioning the freedoms that Belarbi takes with Tchaikovsky’s score, which he retouches with reasonable success but also with great daring. For example, it replaces a part of the orchestral Chinese Dance with a previously recorded version simulating the typical sound of Japanese video games of the 80s and 90s. Some cuts, parts that sound in transcription for piano solo, sound effects … Admittedly All these interventions are made with good taste, and it cannot be denied that they work well within the framework of the choreographer’s creation, although it is advisable to be advised to avoid the odd fright.

On a musical level, the Lyceum Orchestra shines under the direction of Marius Stieghorst, who, even with all the interventions by Belarbi, is capable of stringing together the ensemble without completely losing the rhythm of the original score. A good production, then, to return for a while to those childhood dreams. On the other hand, the final detail is precious, in which María puts aside her favorite toy to focus her attention on a boy her age. The passage from childhood to adulthood, just before the applause, which, at the threshold of the new year, invites us to remember more often the child we were, despite everything that 2022 may bring us.

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