Getting beyond the sticker shock of $60-80 tickets show tickets, $10 parking and $5 tiny plastic glasses of wine, the Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker offered a grand spectacle. The promise of a spellbinding performance attracted a near-full capacity crowd to the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium on Monday, Dec. 19. Attendees came in classic Asheville mixed attire: everything from a fancy suit to a Jeff Gordon Nascar T-shirt to a pink rhinestone cowboy hat.
For those who don’t know, the story in The Nutcracker goes like this, according to the program: Presents are passed out to all the children. Masha receives an enchanted Nutcracker from Uncle Drosselmeyer, but Brother Fritz breaks it in a fit of jealousy. An upset Masha slumbers off and encounters the Rat King and his minions. Before it’s too late, the Nutcracker comes to the rescue, but is wounded in the epic battle. Uncle Drosselmeyer returns and transforms the Nutcracker into a Prince with his magic wand. The couple journey to the Snow Forest to see the Snow Queen, and then on to the Land of Peace and Harmony where they are greeted by dancers from around the globe. In a grand finale, the couple closes the curtain with a Grand Pas De Deux (duet).
Overall, the ballet proved to be a crowd pleaser. Ballarinos and ballerinas performed non-stop sets of Fouetté en tournants, Grand écarts and other amazing feats of agility and strength with perfect balance and attitude. The audience especially loved these visibly physically challenging sequences, and stormed the air with energizing rounds of applause. No one seemed to have left disappointed.