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Nutcracker ballet returns for festive season
Hoang Phong
Wednesday,  Dec 6, 2017,17:02 (GMT+7)

Nutcracker ballet returns for festive season

Hoang Phong

Classical ballet “The Nutcracker” is performed at HBSO last year - PHOTO: COURTESY OF HBSO

Since its debut in HCMC in 2011, the classical ballet “The Nutcracker” has become a popular early Christmas gift to audiences. This year, the show will make a comeback at 8 p.m. on three nights of December 8-10 at the Opera House in HCMC’s District 1 under the baton of Norwegian conductor Magnus Loddgard.    

The show, based on the classic story ‘The Nutcracker and the Mouse King’ by E.T.A. Hoffman, tells about a dream of Clara, a dreamy and emotional little girl, on the Christmas Eve. The dream opens a magical fairy world where she meets the brave and handsome prince who comes out of a nutcracker. He rescues Clara from dangers and accompanies her in the adventure through wonderland.

The forthcoming show, hosted by the HCMC Ballet Symphony Orchestra and Opera (HBSO), is to have the presence of some international artists, including Chloe Glemot from France and two Japanese young ballet artists - Naoki Tomikawa and Yuki Hiroshige.

Local ballet dancers who will share the stage to showcase their talents and entertain domestic and international audiences include Do Hoang Khang Ninh (Clara), Ho Phi Diep (Nutcracker), Tran Hoang Yen (Sugarplum) and Dam Duc Nhuan (Mr. Drosselmeyer).

Naoki Tomikawa told the Daily in an interview yesterday morning that he was born into a family with a rich tradition of art performance and inherited the passion for ballet from his mother at a young age.

He is overjoyed to receive an invitation from HBSO to partake in the ballet show along with Vietnamese artists. This will also be the first time he performs in Vietnam, so he feels a bit nervous but the love for ballet dancing makes him more confident, Naoki added.

Meanwhile, local young ballet dancer Tran Hoang Yen explained to the Daily that this year’s show will come back in a new version with several changes against last year’s with a hope to bring a fresh breath of classical ballet to city fans.  

She is pinning high hopes that ballet lovers and children will lap up to watch the ballet show which proves stringent efforts of HBSO and many other artists to offer a meaningful gift to audiences far and wide during the Christmas holiday, Yen added.

Previously, Norwegian choreographer Johanne Jakhelln Constant, who arranged “The Nutcracker” ballet for the U.S.’ Ballet Quad Cities in 1998, received an invitation from HBSO to direct the show in HCMC in 2011 and attracted much attention and applause from the media and local viewers.

With her experiences in different ballet groups in the world and having choreographed many times for “The Nutcraker”, Jakhelln Constant took part in every production steps of the show, including stage setup, costumes, props, and choreography.

Jakhelln Constant served as an artistic director of Ballet Quad Cities (USA) from 1997-2006. While with the company she choreographed more than forty ballets, including the full-length ballets The Nutcracker, Cinderella, Coppélia and The Sleeping Beauty. She also bagged three choreography awards for her original works such as Chairished and Flickering Blue.

Magnus Loddgard, who was trained as a pianist and conductor at the Norwegian Academy of Music, has embraced a strong passion for contemporary music and in 2009 became chief conductor of the Ensemble Neon.

In HCMC, he shot to fame through the very successful premiere of The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky in 2012, as well as popular opera “The Magic Flute” by Mozart in 2013 and 2014 with HBSO Symphony Orchestra.

Tickets to the upcoming show are on sale at HBSO Box Office at HCMC Opera House, with prices ranging from VND200,000 (US$8.7) to VND800,000 while students pay only VND150,000.

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