Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Intermission: Ballet Philippines' Nutcracker

I'm not much of a culture-vulture but I must confess, I really love classical music. So much so that I sorely miss the country's only classical music station, DZFE, which was my mainstay especially during what Lionel Richie sang as "easy Sunday mornings". But I digress. One of my all-time favorites is Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite" and though I only have passing familiarity with the ballet, hearing the music (I have a quite rare copy of the 1960 Royal Philharmonic Orchestra's recording of "Waltz of the Flowers") always makes me imagine sugarplum fairies traipsing across a snow-covered stage.
Thanks to friends from the Department of Tourism, I was able to see the full-length performance of this well-loved Christmas classic by Ballet Philippines. Sure, it wasn't easy to shoot from row M (specifically row 13, towards the right-most side) of the orchestra section with so many heads bobbing every now and then, and some students passing across my field of view even in the middle of the performance, but still, it was a welcome treat. Just thinking out loud, maybe the friendly folks at the CCP and/or Ballet Philippines can give a better vantage point for photographers covering the event next time.
In any case, I'm sharing some images from the performance. I must say that the Manila Symphony Orchestra conducted by Prof. Arturo Molina turned in an excellent rendition of Tchaikovsky's music; from the first note, I was transported back to a Sunday afternoon listening to Tchaikovsky and other classical musicians. But then again, there's nothing like listening to a live orchestral performance. The choreography by Noordin Jumalon was also well played out and the floating/changing set designs by Eric G. Cruz were very impressive. I'm not a big fan of ballet but this one rates high on inspired entertainment and energetic performances.
The Nutcracker had its run at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (Main Theater) of the Cultural Center of the Philippines last Dec. 3-13, 2009 as a special 40th anniversary presentation of Ballet Philippines. Again, my profuse thanks to friends from the Department of Tourism for the privilege of watching the performance.


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