Posted by: yachtcrewsing | December 3, 2011

The Nutcracker Ballet at Rosecliff Mansion

No live performance is so iconic of Christmas as the Nutcracker, and no location is more quintessentially Newport than one of the cliff-side mansions. Together, they produce an awe inspiring experience of holiday spectacles- Island Moving Co’s rendition of the Nutcracker at the opulent Rosecliff mansion.

On Tuesday, the crew and I arrived at Rosecliff for the evening performance, where we were ushered up the walkway and into the grand marble foyer of the mansion. All of the audience attendees were gradually gathered in this area, milling around the base of the impressively grand sweeping staircase which defined the room. As the powerful music of Tchaikovsky began to fill the space, the dancers entered from the split staircase above and floated down to audience level.

After this first performance, we were urged along with the dancers to the next location, a grand ballroom of epic proportions and intricacies. The action was then focalized on the incredible decorations and dancers around them, who swiftly drew us into a slightly smaller sitting room. This set served as the location for the ballet’s heroine, Clara, to receive her special Christmas gift- the nutcracker soldier.

The last of Act I was a breathtaking performance to the Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy, wherein shimmering white ballet performers seamlessly interacted with the white fir trees constituting a magical snowy forest.

After this spectacle, intermission was held in one of the mansions studies, complete with complementary green and red sugar cookies, eggnog and apple cider.

The last act was held once again in the ballroom, with the audience fully stationary and seated at individual tables. Thus concluded the beautiful and unique performance.

It was magical and befitting, the performance and the mansion. Both Rosecliff and the Nutcracker can be considered temporally similar, with the mansion being constructed a mere six years after the ballet’s premiere in Russia in 1892. Despite the discrepancy in location, the opulence of the period was reflected in the ornate carvings and the stunning arrangement of holiday decorations.

What a magical fusion of an era of past architectural grandure and a modern interpretation of a century-old classic.

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