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Friday, June 14, 2024

HBSO to present nutcracker for three performances

By Bradley Winterton

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HCMC – Tchaikovsky’s ballet The Nutcracker has long been associated with Christmas. It begins with a Christmas party, and ends with the daughter of the house, Clara, asleep under the Christmas tree.

All over the world Nutcracker is produced in December, anticipating Christmas. And so it is that the HCMC Ballet, Symphony Orchestra and Opera (HBSO) will present their ever-colourful and beautifully danced version on December 9, 10 and 11 at the Saigon Opera House.

This is one of the jewels in HBSO’s crown and will be eagerly anticipated.

The story is easily told. A rich house mounts a Christmas party, but after the guests have left the young girl, Clara, falls asleep and dreams of all the kitchen implements coming to life and dancing under the tree. Chief of these implements is the Nutcracker, a small hand-held device for cracking large nuts.

Before long the Nutcracker is taking Clara on a journey through a winter wonderland and on into the company of Christmas goodies such as coffee, tea, oranges etc. The famous “pas de deux” (dance for two people) comes close to the end, which shows Clara waking up and uncertain if what she has seen is reality or a dream.

This version has been choreographed by Johanne Jakhalin Constant especially for HSBO and is nowadays an annual December feast in Saigon.

Clara will be danced by Do Hoang Khang Ninh and the Nutcracker by Meritorious Artist Ho Phi Diep.

Other prominent dancers will be Meritorious Artist Dam Duc Nhuan as the Cavalier, and Dsm Duc Nhuan as Mr. Drosselmeyer, the “mystery guest” at the party in Act One.

The Nutcracker is unusual among HBSO ballets in being performed with a full orchestra, conducted in this case by the company’s former artistic director Meritorious Artist Tran Vuong Thach.

A full complement of HBSO dancers will fill the other dancing roles, combining, together with sumptuous sets and brilliant lighting, to make for a splendid, memorable and altogether and extraordinary show.

The entire concoction of The Nutcracker illustrates some of the great truths of art, such as that vision and dream are related, beauty and fantasy are related too, and that Christmas is a time for both pleasure and multiple insights.

It shows, as well, that the greatest music can also be very popular, and that shows that please both the ears and the eyes are bound to succeed.

Tchaikovsky wrote operas and symphonies as well as ballets, but his ballets are generally perceived as his finest accomplishments.

In addition, the Saigon Opera House is a magnificent venue in which to experience this, or indeed any other, production. It opened in 1900 with a production of Saint-Saens’ opera Samson and Delilah.

Ticket prices are from VND550,000 to VND1,000,000, with a student concession of VND150,000.

The performances begin at 8:00 p.m.

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