Resplendent visions of sugarplums danced both on the Warner Theatre stage and in the heads of hundreds of hardy multi-generational audience members Friday evening when the Washington Ballet inaugurated its annual Nutcracker performance.
Marking its 11th anniversary, Artistic Director Septime Webre’s Washington-centric account of the holiday ballet fete opens in a well-appointed Georgetown mansion of 1882. Peter Horne’s opulently meticulous set construction, combined with Tchaikovsky’s high-spirited flutes and regal crescendos (albeit pre-taped) and ornate costume design (styled by Judanna Lynn), draw Victorian nostalgia and welcome child-friendly fantasy.
Though Webre puts a patriotic spin on the original German story, he maintains its essence with Young Clara still receiving the Nutcracker doll from her Uncle (or in this rendition, Godfather) Drosselmeyer during a bustling Christmas Eve Party in Act One, and is taken on a boat to the Land of Sweets (in this case, the Land of Cherry Blossoms) to visit the Sugar Plum Fairy (who stays the same) in Act Two.
Friday’s performance was crowned by the radiant magnificence of Maki Onuki’s Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier (Gian Carlo Perez), as each danced with fastidious precision and poise, further elevating the intensity of Tchaikovsky’s illustrious composition.
Spiced with sprightly choreography and visual grandeur, Septime Webre’s The Nutcracker is an alluring production that captivates and evokes, reimagining a quintessential American classic, eloquently showcasing the cultural diversity and splendor of Washington.
Running Time: Approximately 2 hours, with one 15-minute intermission.