Ballet The Nutcracker

Ballet The Nutcracker

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Sat 12 Dec 2020, 08 pm
Saigon Opera House
07 Đồng Khởi, Bến Nghé, District 1, HCMC

From the organizer:

The Ho Chi Minh City Ballet, Symphony Orchestra and Opera (HBSO) is once again reviving its hugely popular Christmas production, Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker.

This full-length ballet, complete with orchestra and chorus, has been performed in Saigon every year since 2011. This time it will be conducted by the HBSO’s Music Director, Meritorious Artist Tran Vuong Thach.

The Nutcracker is the world’s most frequently-performed ballet, and has become a staple of the pre-Christmas season, especially in the United States.

Its suitability for Christmas isn’t hard to understand. It begins with a Christmas party in a large house. When all the guests have left, the young daughter of the house falls asleep under the Christmas tree and dreams of going on a journey to fantastic lands, including a wintry, snowy landscape. All sorts of characters perform dances before the little girl is finally seen still asleep under the Christmas tree.

The “nutcracker” itself is one of the kitchen implements that come to life after the party guests have left. It is really a prince in disguise, and in the first act leads a fight against the evil Mouse King.

Tchaikovsky wrote three ballets – the other two are The Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake. He didn’t live to see the immense popularity of his Nutcracker ballet as it was, to begin with, a relative failure until after the composer had made an orchestral suite out of some of its music.

This music, as well as including dances representing the countries of origin of tea, coffee, chocolate and orange juice, has a new musical instrument (new in those days anyway), the celesta. The sparkling sound of this instrument, which Tchaikovsky first heard in Paris, makes for a spectacular accompaniment to the dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Also very notable is the famous “pas de deux” (dance for two people) which is based on a simple descending scale, something that a friend challenged Tchaikovsky to write.

Saigon’s Nutcracker was originally choreographed by Norway’s Johanne Jakhelln Constant and is now re-rehearsed by the HBSO’s resident choreographer Nguyen Phuc Hung.

That The Nutcracker is this year being given for only two performances (three has been the norm up to now) means that seats will sell out very quickly. Even over three performances full-houses were all-but guaranteed.

Everything about HBSO’s Nutcracker is spectacular – the dancing, the scenery, the lighting, the costumes, the chorus and the orchestra. The fact that this revival will be conducted by HBSO’s Music Director is an added attraction this year.

This time, ballerina Nguyen Thu Trang will take the role of Clara and ballerina Do Hoang Khang Ninh will take the role Sugarplum Fairy. Dam Duc Nhuan will be Cavalier, and Dang Minh Hien will be Drosselmeyer.

Music: P. I. Tchaikovsky
Libretto: E. T. A. Hoffman
Choreography: Johanne Jakhelln Constant
Assistant choreographers: Nguyễn Phúc Hùng

Clara: Nguyễn Thu Trang
Nutcracker: Mer. Hồ Phi Điệp
Cavalier: Mer. Đàm Đức Nhuận
Sugarplum Fairy: Đỗ Hoàng Khang Ninh
Snow Queen & Dewdrop: Yuki Hiroshige
Mr. Drosselmeyer: Đặng Minh Hiền

Lighting Designer: Nguyễn Phúc Hải
Costume Design: Johanne Jakhelln Constant
Scenography & Props Designer: Johanne Jakhelln Constant
Stage manager: Nguyễn Mạnh Duy Linh

Performing: HBSO Ballet, Female Choir & Symphony Orchestra

Conductor: Mer. A. Trần Vương Thạch

According to the government’s instructions, the audience is requested to wear masks while attending the performance, with body temperature taken and hand sanitizer used when entering the Opera House.

Tickets are priced from 450,000 VND up to 900,000 NVD, with a concessionary price of 150,000 VND for students on production of a student card.

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