Nutcrackers come and go every year, but Metropolitan Classical Ballet’s Russian version is something to which local dance lovers really look forward. This year’s opening, last weekend in Texas Theater on the UTA campus, however, seemed routine rather than joyous. Perhaps having performed for more than 11,000 third graders from Arlington ISD before the official opening took the edge off the performance.
Certainly the enchanting Olga Pavlova, the evening’s Fairy Doll (as the Sugar Plum is called here), has been more persuasive, and her dancing with the sturdy Andrey Prikhodko less tentative.
The performances boasted a live orchestra guest conducted by Bernard Rubenstein, which gave tempo flexibility to the dancers. The pit, though, was heavily miked, and at times the sound seemed to come from the attic through the overhead speakers.
Attendance was at an all-time high – over 1,100 on opening night, more than 5,000 for the weekend – and co-artistic director Alexander Vetrov’s Soviet-era Bolshoi choreography went off without any apparent hitches. All that was missing was the magic that usually comes from this company. – Leonard Eureka