A night at the ballet

We went to see the Tulsa Ballet's Nutcracker tonight. It is a production by Marcello Angelini, the artistic director, and takes departure from the regular "candy coated" productions I have seen on TV over the years. If focuses more on the romance between Marie and the Nutcracker in her dreams. By the way, this is the first time I have seen it "live". This production is set in 1920's Paris and is very Erte/Art Deco in it's set design and costuming, possibly lending a nod to the roaring 20's here in Tulsa, a mecca of Art Deco architecture. What was really cool was a mini, electric convertible Rolls Royce that bridges Act I and II. We loved that! This updated version also seems to offer more "meat" for the dancers, which I am sure they enjoy. The Nutcracker is to professional dancers what The Messiah is to professional singers: guaranteed work each November and December, but somewhat dreary, unless there is a reason to be excited about a new way to approach or present it. I think this is where the Tulsa Ballet's production really excels.

Musically speaking, I am not a fan of "enhanced sound", i.e. miking the orchestra pit. It created some balance problems. In addition, there were some tempi issues between the sections, especially in Act II. And there was a moment in Act I when a piano on stage was playing the main melody...which was just weird and not as Tchaikovsky intended.

As for the dancing...it was very pretty. Almost too pretty. Perhaps that is a bit cynical coming from an opera singer. But we need some "ugly" to balance all of the pretty, you know? The leads were great and I also loved the Arabian dancers. The kids as mice and toy soldiers were cute too and offered a little comic relief. Some of the principal dancers failed to connect to the music, as if they were merely dancing their steps to counts of eight rather than to the crescendo/decrescendo of the orchestra. The primadonna, however, was the exception and offered a very musical interpretation, especially in her featured solos.

So...are we ballet converts? Not so much. I think every once in a while will be good for us. It was nice to get out and see people of all ages and backgrounds out at the theater. There were lots of parents with small children as well as young couples.

Oh yeah and we had dinner at the The Daily Grill at the Crowne Plaza. It serves all American fare...we both had the Caesar salads. J had the meatloaf and mashed potatoes with grilled asparagus and I had the french dip with french fries. Mais oui! We split a decadent and over the top brownie drenched in vanilla ice cream, caramel and fudge, topped with pecans. Yum!

The Crowne Plaza itself looks like it's benefitted from it's recent multimillio dollar makeover and is quite swanky looking. I kept thinking how cool it would to shoot portraits in the lobby and lounge area:

The colors are much more vibrant in person...sky blue, black, khaki, red and orange. Love the 1940's swanky vibe they've got going! If J and I ever get portraits shot here in town, we'll have to add this to the list, in addition to the obligatory outdoor shots at Woodward Park! Seems there is no less than 3 professional photographers shooting portraits there whenever we have been there.


Anonymous said...

I love going to the Nutcracker ballet! It's been quite a few years since I did so, but I remember it well.

I've never eaten at the Plaza as it's at the opposite end of the city as me, however I hear good things about it. I'm also a big fan of the french dip!

I love taking shots at Woodward. It's such a beautiful and peaceful place.

Here's to a good weekend with warmer weather!