By Geneva Palmer
SANTA BARBARA, Ca.– Heading into the beautiful opera house white flakes fall from the sky. Is it actual snow? No, of course not, in the warm California temperatures that cause the bay area to be even more appealing it seems almost impossible to imagine the urban environment a wintery wonderland.
Nonetheless, this sets off the magical fantasy tones that are a constant theme throughout the entire ballet. From the beautiful set design to the outstanding live orchestra to stunning dancers the 75th performance of the Christmas classic seemed as close to perfection as possible.
The classic music composed by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky and amazing music choreographed by Helgi Tomasson are the foundation of the entire ballet itself.
For those who are not familiar with the story, it follows the Christmas Eve adventure and dreams of a young girl named Clara. The story starts off with Clara’s family hosting a holiday party that her Uncle Drosselmeyer attends. As the night wears on Clara receives a Nutcracker from her beloved Uncle Drosselmeyer.
This beautiful gift provokes jealousy from her brother Fritz who breaks the treasured gift but with Clara’s godfather coming to the rescue the nutcracker is fixed, the party ends, and Clara falls asleep next to her adored nutcracker.
In her dreams, Clara’s nutcracker comes to life and helps fight against an army of mice. She and her nutcracker who has turned into a prince journey into a snowy wonderland meeting other dancers.
After the snowy encounter Clara and her prince travel to the land of sweets where they encounter many other performers including the famous Sugarplum fairy.
This story and ballet have always been a childhood favorite of mine so when gifted the opportunity to go see the performance done by the famous San Francisco ballet I was thrilled.
The familiar storyline was beautifully preformed and I felt nothing but pure joy watching one of my favorite stories coming to life before my eyes. As the story progresses one can not help feeling as if they are the only ones watching the show and having their own private viewing.
Personally, I struggle to stay interested throughout movies and essentially any form of entertainment that is longer than 20 minutes. However, this was not difficult at all watching this play and after more than two hours I was deeply disappointed when the play came to an end.
From the dramatic scene of the Christmas tree growing to the magical dance performed by the snow queen as fake snow coats the floor the San Francisco ballet did a magnificent job in telling the old story with creative new ideas.