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Monday, November 26, 2021

If you just can’t get enough of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” — and if so, who can blame you — then Ovation TV has your ticket punched: The artsy-fartsy channel is head-to-heading four different performance interpretations of the classic holiday ballet:

The contenders in the inaugural Battle of the Nutcrackers cover a wide range of styles, from the staidly classical to a kaleidoscopic hallucination. In the first category are a 1989 performance by the Bolshoi Ballet, featuring Irek Mukhamedov as the Nutcracker Prince, and the 1993 film “George Balanchine’s ‘The Nutcracker,’” staged by Peter Martins and featuring Darci Kistler as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Macaulay Culkin as the Nutcracker. At the far-out end of the spectrum are “Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker!,” a 2003 performance of the colorful fantasy that begins in a Dickensian orphanage, and “The Hard Nut,” a 1991 piece by the Mark Morris Dance Group, which uses the Tchaikovsky score but transports the setting to 1960s American suburbia.

Sight unseen, I’m going to have to go with that George Balanchine joint, only because the presence of Macaulay Culkin would give the production a definite Home Alone vibe. Although I admit The Hard Nut sounds appealing too.

Actually, I’m not high on any particular interpretation of ballet, conventional or not. But I do admire Ovation for staying true to its roots with this attention-getting programming stunt. Plus, I just wanted to use “Battle of the Nutcrackers” as a post title.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 11/26/2007 10:30:16 PM
Category: TV, Creative
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