Working with award-winning designer Robert Perdziola, Nissinen reimagined all new sets and costumes that hold true to the spirit and warmth of the 1820s. The softer, warmer jewel tones make the stage more inviting -- providing the ultimate personal experience. The snow scene is visually and technically breathtaking. It's like a painting out of a beautiful children's book. But the piece de resistance is the growing Christmas tree, outfitted in lights and ornaments. It overwhelms the stage and cuts to the magic of Christmas. It's simply stunning.
The top-notch choreography is not all that different from previous productions. However, Act I was slightly sloppy -- not the polished look Bostonians have grown accustomed to with Nissinen. The dancers seemed much more comfortable and at ease in Act II.
With the exception of the Snow Queen, Dew Drop Fairy and Sugar Plum Fairy, who sparkle and shimmer from head to toe, the costumes are not as grandiose as they once were, but are elegant in their simplicity, showing off the dancers' figures with a modern and delicate feel.
Those who are familiar with the show will not be disappointed with the returning comedic characters: The Bear, The Mouse King and the Black Sheep.
The newest character? A sad- and confused-looking bunny, whose limp body didn’t bring any life to the scene — only sympathy and confusion.
Big things are to come for Eliza French (Clara). It is clear that the young dancer is a natural, both technically and artistically. The Nutcracker Prince (Lasha Khozashvili) and Sugar Plum Fairy (Lia Cirio) didn’t seem to have as much onstage chemistry as the Snow Queen and King (Misa Kuranaga and Jeffrey Cirio), who pair beautifully.
While this new production still is working out the kinks, Nissinen’s “Nutcracker” still is as beautiful and traditional as always, a true Christmas classic for years to come.
Who should see it?
This is a sure bet for first-timers and veterans (young and old) who want to see a classic holiday production. If you’ve never been to the ballet, this is a good one to start with. If you’re bringing your children, read E.T.A. Hoffmann’s story together beforehand, so they can easily follow the story.