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NUT CRA CK ER THE

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DECEMBER / 2015


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CO N TE NT AT H E NS

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B I R M I NGHAM

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B U E N OS AIRES

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AT L A N TA

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H O N G KONG

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WA S H I NGTON

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B E R L I N

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N E W Y ORK

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O S L O

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V I L N I U S

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Š 2015 Spectacle. All rights reserved. All material in this magazine may not be reproduced, transmitted or distributed in any form without the written consent of Spectacle. Design & layout / Annie Kruse, Stylejuicer.com


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THE NUTCRACKER

It doesn’t get more ‘Christmas-y’ than The Nutcracker and chances are everyone has seen at least one rendition of it at some point. The story and names sometimes vary from one production to the other. But the basic plot stays the same. The story of a family, preparing to celebrate Christmas in their house, with the oldest daughter dreaming of a Nutcracker Prince and a fierce battle between the Nutcracker and a Mouse King with seven heads.

Yvonne Dewerne EDITOR IN CHIEF / SPECTACLE

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We invite you to take a look at the different sets from around the world and find out what the set designer had in mind, when bringing the World of The Nutcracker to life.

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Not only the plot changes but so do the sets. Some have been around for many years and some sets are a new interpretation of this wonderful classic ballet.

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There is also a mysterious godfather called Drosselmeyer and a delightful Sugar Plum Fairy, dancing with a dashing Cavalier.


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A TH EN S


I can not say it had a direct impact, unfortunately. But I have a very special memory about a Viennese premiere. My parents gifted me a blue nutcracker, which is exactly like my blue prince in the production and this Nutcracker will be with me all my life. By now he has so many brothers and sisters, because I keep getting them as a present. I have new and oldones made from various materials.

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If so, how did your memories influence your work on this set?

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I grew up in the countryside, there was no ballet. But I remember my aunt had a nutcracker standing in her living room come Christmas.

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Do you have a childhood memory of The Nutcracker?


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We would like to lean more about your set concept - how do you keep it unique but stay faithful to the Nutcracker story?

A TH EN S

Renato Zanella (the choreographer) and I originally planed this production in 2000 for the Vienna State Opera, it has been taken over in Athens in 2012 and parts of it have been redesigned. For the Viennese production Clara-Maria is a young princess, her parents are the emperor and the empress. The Nutcracker Prince as Prince Alexei in a hussar uniform. The story was moved to the court of Vienna, the Hofburg.


The stage design and the costumes were tailored to the Viennese court. The audience sees a historical map of the World and find themselves in the Mirror Hall of the Hofburg, where the imperal family indeed had their Christmas tree. The basic element of the stage is a huge sequins wall. In front of this sequined wall, the individual leaflets that have been painted on tapestry tulle hanged. After Clara is kidnapped,Baron Max escapes with her in a large gold- black

mice carriage. Prince Serge and his aides chase after them in a large blue-silver unicorn carriage. During the hunt they travel to different countries, in Paris, for example, they see the Arc de Triomphe and a series of Napoleons on hobby horses. The Prince is guided by the Fairy of the North and the snowflakes. But also Clara-Maria helps him by laying a trail with pieces of her beloved Nutcracker she has broken up. In the end, the prince finds the princess and leads her back home to the Hofburg in Vienna.

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Would you please give us a brief summary of the creative process involved - what is the first thing you do and how do you proceed from there? I am an avid book collector and have more than 4.0000 illustrated books in my studio. In addition, I also have a very extensive digital archive. The little free time that I have, I enjoy spending in museums and looking at exhibitions.

What is next for you? Do you have a dream project? I often work on multiple projects simultaneously. Currently I’m working on four operas one ballet production, two Viennese balls, a major exhibition and a project about sacred art.

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Of course, I also use my smartphone for visual notes. I can’t say what exactly it is that inspires me. It could be a rock formation in nature or art, but also everyday objects can be inspiring.

DATES / LINKS

National Opera / ATHENS Set Design Christof Cremer Dates December 23rd – January 3rd


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Photo credits / Haris Akriviadis, Vassilis Makrhs

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BIR MI NG HAM


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Photo credits / Bill Cooper, Paul Kolnik, Roy Smiljanic

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Royal Ballet / BIRMINGHAM Set Design John F. Macfarlane Dates

December 1st – 13th


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BUEN OS AIR ES


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Photo credits / Arnaldo Colombaroli, M谩ximo Parpagnoli

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Teatro Col贸n / BUENOS AIRES Set Design Sergio Massa Dates

December 20th, 22nd, 23rd, 26th & 27th


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AT LA N TA


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Do you have a childhood memory of The Nutcracker? I grew up in the wilds of British Columbia thus theatre was not part of my childhood but music certainly was. I also was a figure skater which laid the foundation to go into performing arts albeit in the wings.

If so, how did your memories influence your work on this set? There are many memories of snow falling that certainly influence the first Act. But the other aspect is the longing for faraway places and foreign lands that I felt as a child.


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from one into another creating a dream like atmosphere. It is also important that the story be set in a place that has resonances for the audience. Often there

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I now have designed scenery for 7 Nutcrackers. Each is different but also alike in that they are focused on illustrating the story and the music. Each one tries to take the child in all of us on a journey that we can relate to. The most important part of the concept is the journey of Clara (Marie). This is her story but based on a story by E T A Hoffmann. Much of his story gets lost in the concepts which is sad but probably a necessity. My aim is to create images that will dissolve

is a Show Scrim in my productions on which I will put a recognizable image from the city where the company is based. The trick of setting dreams is finding aspects that the dreamer knows in reality. So when she goes to sleep after the party, and the Christmas Tree grows, this is in her house. But if the tree grows then so should the house and all the elements, furniture, tree decorations and the Nutcracker Prince. Then the Room needs to dissolve into the snow scene. One should feel that they have walked into the garden of the house. Thus there is a bit of formal garden and then wilderness. Once Clara takes flight from Snow she will go to a magical kingdom of warm and exotic images and people. All this dream must come to an end, which it does in the last few seconds of the Ballet when Clara awakes in the room she went to sleep in.

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We would like to lean more about your set concept - how do you keep it unique but stay faithful to the Nutcracker story?


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Would you please give us a brief summary of the creative process involved - what is the first thing you do and how do you proceed from there?

expensive. The Creative Budget is a huge ask for any Nutcracker. The balance between sets, props costume and lighting need serious consideration and often require adjustments by all parties.

The Choreographer and the designers will discuss his concept of the Ballet. From these talks I will begin a visual dialogue to reach an agreement on the images. Then a model is made which will be adjusted for space as required for the choreography, costume design and the lighting concept. This is a collaborative art form where the end result is the accumulation of many

Now that the construction can begin, scenery workshops are asked to quote for the work and in house workshops begin to budget and create the sets and props required. As a designer one must keep track of the elements that arise from the rehearsal process and make sure the needs of the choreography are met. There are many elements crucial to Nutcracker that often require the knowledge of

minds. Once we think we have a plan, the technical aspects of the production and the company’s capabilities are discussed. The most important financial cost will be, the initial cost and cost of time required to mount the production not only for its premier but for each revival. This is a primary concern for most companies as theatre space and technical staff are

illusionists. Magic doll boxes, tricks and transformation moments are needed throughout the Ballet. After a year of preparation the project will come to the on stage period of technical setup, lighting sessions, costume rehearsals, and then a premier.


DATES / LINKS

ATLANTA BALLET / AT L A N TA Set Design Peter Horne Dates

December 11th – 27th

Photo credits / C. & M. Mc Cullers

I would love to design a Sleeping Beauty.

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What is next for you? Do you have a dream project?

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I am focused on my garden and painting now. These are a huge inspiration, the sculptural aspect of garden spaces is theatrical and the colours that nature provides always amazes. Photographs are my main recording source. Travel is also a large part of my life, since I live in England exotica is a short flight from here. I don’t keep a diary, should of course. When I begin a design project, mood boards and clippings will be set up to focus vision and also be part of the dialogue with Choreographers and other designers. But once I start the design everything is put away and I hope the images will flow from my memory.

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What inspires you in general and how do you preserve these inspirations for later use? Do you keep a diary? Do you have a mood board you pin clippings onto? Do you collect screenshots on your phone/computer?


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H ONG KO NG


HONG KONG BALLET / HONG KONG

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Set Design Jordi Roig Dates December 18th – 27th

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Photo credit / Gordon Wong

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WA SH ING TON


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WASHINGTON BALLET / WASHINGTON Set Design Peter Horne Dates November 28th – December 27th

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B ER L IN


Do you have a childhood memory of The Nutcracker? Since early childhood ‘The Nutcracker’

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The festive impression I got as a child, has never left me, and I always wanted to bring the magical atmosphere of the Christmas festivities to the viewers. I am very pleased that we were able to have the students from the State Ballet School in Berlin join us, who enriched our performances and have become full-fledged artists. ‘Many generations of mice and soldiers have grown out of these performances.

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has been my favorite ballet. When I saw this Christmas fairy tale for the first time on stage of the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, I knew immediately that I had to be part of this tale. At this time I was already a student at the Academy of Russian Ballet of A. Vaganova and had danced all the roles myself. Furthermore, I was lucky to be able to dance The Nutcracker and when I became a choreographer, I brought my own vision of The Nutcracker (which ran for 12 years) to stage at the National Theatre in Brno, Czech Republic.


How did your memories influence your work on this set?

enjoy. I think we achieved this, the reviews in Germany and in other countries have been positiv. Also, the ballet has been broadcasted live and a dvd is available.

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Although we live in the 21st century, many of us like to think back to our childhood. Back to all these illusions and to the beauty of fairy tales, which we are missing or can’t see anymore in our everyday life. We like to watch Hollywood movies, which are often similar to fairy tales, because they touch us with their beauty and imagination. When Vladimir Malakhov approached us to work with him, he asked us to produce a magical, beautiful spectacle for the whole family to

We would like to lean more about your set concept - how do you keep it unique but stay faithful to the Nutcracker story? As the basis of this production, we have taken the libretto by Marius Petipa, which he wrote based on the story of A. Duma. During the preparation leading up to the ballet, ‘The Nutcracker’ in the Marinskij Theater, Petipa was ill and all the preparatory work had been carried out by L. Ivanov. We used the main plan and preparation of Petipa and thanks to him and his plan, we were able to bring back lots of original ideas.


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Would you please give us a brief summary of the creative process involved - what is the first thing you do and how do you proceed from there?

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For our production, Yuri Burlaka (the choreographer) and I used the performances of L. Ivanov from 1892 as inspiration and also used many of his choreographic elements. We had records of N. Sergeyev, with which we could derive the old choreography and for the already existing set designes, we have developed our own choreographies. This approach meant extensive research in the archives in Berlin but also in the St. Petersburg State Museum of Theatre and Music. We started by having our designer Andrei Wojtenko, develop his version on the basis of historical drawings and photographs. The costume designer Tatjana Noginowa proceeded pretty much the same way. She translated the beautiful images of Ivan Wsewoloschzkij into the language of our time. She was able to add the missing fragments that we lacked. In order to create the showeffect, we made sure to use modern technology (f. ex. the mechanically operated Swan).

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What inspires you in general and how do you preserve these inspirations for later use? Do you keep a diary? Do you have a mood board you pin clippings onto? Do you collect screenshots on your phone/computer? Although I love the classic ballet and historical performances very much, I’m also happy to keep up with the time. Currently I’m working on contemporary performances. I follow closely how the modern theatre and movies are developing.

What is next for you? Do you have a dream project? I’m currently working on the ballet, Don Quixote ‘for the theater in Vilnius, Lithuania. With the help of existing historical material I restore the original version. At the same time I’m working on a contemporary ballet called Cleopatra where I work together with a Belarusian composer and it will make use of the best technologies the theater of the 21st century has to offer.

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Photo credit / Bettina Stöß

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Also, I have founded and have organized for the past 14 years, the international ballet festival called Dance Open in St. Petersburg. This festival was given me the opportunity to present many international dance groups. I document the creative process and share these photographs with my friends and followers on Facebook and on my website.

STAATSBALLET / BERLIN Set Design Vasili Medvedev Dates November 26th – January 1st


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N EW YO RK


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NEW YORK CITY BALLET / NEW YORK

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Set Design Rouben Ter-Arutunian (deceased) Dates November 27th – January 3rd

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Photo credit / Paul Kolnik

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Photo credit / Erik Berg

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DEN NORSKE OPERA & BALLETT / OSLO Set Design Nadine Baylis & Minna Wallenius Dates December 4th – 22nd

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LIETUVOS NACIONALINIS / VILNIUS Set Design Viaceslav Okunev BALLET

Dates November 28th – December 27th

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Photo credit / M. Aleska Inobt

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L IN K S E D I T OR IN CHIEF / YVONNE DEWERNE E D I T ORIAL TEAM / ANASTASIA BENKO, BRIDGEE MELLING D E S I G N & LAYOUT / ANNIE KRUSE

spectacle-arts.com @spectacle_arts facebook.com/spectacleartsmagazine @spectacle_arts Š 2015 Spectacle. All rights reserved. All material in this magazine may not be reproduced, transmitted or distributed in any form without the written consent of Spectacle.


TH ANK YO U ATHENS

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BUENOS AIRES

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ATLANTA

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HONG KONG

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WASHINGTON

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BERLIN

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NEW YORK

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OSLO

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VILNIUS

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BIRMINGHAM

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The Nutcracker – A Special Edition