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Sunday, December 20, 2015

December Chestnuts - Rigoletto, Alvin Ailey, Nutcracker

Nadine Sierra as Gilda, photo as Jonathan Tichler
If last week was a whirlwind of Nutcracker adventures, this week I went to three tried and true warhorses: Alvin Ailey Dance Company on 12/15, Rigoletto on December 17, and one more look for the year at the NYCB Nutcracker on Sunday afternoon.

Usually mid-week revivals of the Met's "Las Vegas" Rigoletto can be dull affairs, but last night's performance had some fresh faces and voices (to New York at least). Jean Fran├žois Borras first made his Met debut in a last minute substitute Werther almost two years ago. I was immediately bowled over by the beauty of his singing. Since then he's made a return to the Met last season for some Rodolfos and sung Werther and Des Grieux in Vienna.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Nutcrackerthon Diaries - Nutcracker, Buttcracker, Nutcracker Rouge, Hard Nut

Hyltin and Veyette, photo @Andrea Mohin
By a mix of chance and calculation I ended up seeing five Nutcrackers in one week. Strike that. I ended up seeing two Nutcrackers proper and three Nutcracker-inspired shows in one week. It was an ambitious undertaking but I survived and am still alive to write about it! Here are the Nutcracker diaries I kept for this week:

December 5, 2015 - NYCB Nutcracker - I'm at the alpha and omega of Nutcrackers (and let's face it, NYC Christmas-themed shows), Mr. Balanchine's ageless take on Tchaikovsky's ballet. The theater was packed with a good mix of hardcore balletomanes and families. The performance demonstrates NYCB's current strength as a company -- it's the middle of the chaotic Nut season, and they can put together such a strong cast from the principal roles to the soloist variations to the corps de ballet to the SAB children.