The Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts graciously provided me 10 pairs of tickets to give away for the A.V.A. Ballet Theatre and Reno Philharmonic Orchestra’s “The Nutcracker” performances on Friday, December 10 and Saturday, December 11.
Below is a review of the performance and roundup of the winners’ experiences. I, for one, saw the Friday night show. While I had seen “The Nutcracker” at the Pioneer Center in 2007, I felt as if I were watching it for the very first time. The costumes seemed more elaborate than before, and the dancers are absolutely amazing. I am personally more drawn to the second Act of the performance, but the entire night was perfectly delightful!
I’ve enjoyed reading the responses from our contest winners, particularly Bob’s account. Enjoy and happy holidays!
Daddy/son outing: I think like most people here in Reno we just kind of know “The Nutcracker” is going to be performed. But, I guess technically, it was a TV spot (I think) and/or a Twitter post from you guys [that I heard about the show]. I went with my eight-year-old, Andrew.
It was my first time at the Pioneer Center. I’ve always admired the architecture of the building, even from way back as a kid visiting Reno. So it was nice to finally go inside. It’s an impressive building.
The thing of it is, I was vaguely familiar with “The Nutcracker,” having seen bits and pieces of it on PBS and so on, but as I sat there I quickly began to realize why I was just “vaguely” familiar with it — I always had changed the channel after about five minutes.
But perhaps I’m not the targeted audience. When I looked around I noticed a curious lack of males in the audience. Oh there was a family man here and there, and a few guys trying to impress their dates (note: many furs on display that night), but that was about it. I was going to joke that my son and I were probably the only straight male couple there when I remembered that there were no other male couples there (which probably was a sign). The pair of older ladies to our left seemed to enjoy it quite a bit. The “veteran” gave a running commentary on what was happening for her friend. I would say her friend enjoyed the performance as much as she did, but it might have been the whiskey and cokes she was downing. So who knows.
The funny thing is, in the beginning Andrew was pretty interested. He was wondering about how an actually Nutcracker would work and what they looked like in miniature. And he was even holding up at halftime. But the second act took it out of him and myself.
That’s not to say there weren’t some good performances. Kate Crews-Linsley was quite impressive in her solo, and the two guys did yeoman’s work. And the acrobatics of Natalya Beneschott were a crowd favorite, as were the little mice. But, ultimately, that couldn’t save the night.
At curtains end, I asked Andrew if he wanted to see the Nutcrackers they had for sale and he said no and just wanted to go. When we had escaped into the brisk night air, he turned to me and said “Daddy, I never want to have to watch something like that ever again.”
Thanks again though. -Bob
Getting into the holiday spirit: The show was fantastic. I’d seen various versions in the past of “ The Nutcracker”, but this A.V.A. Ballet version was elegant, special and their interpretation was very enjoyable; the sets, costumes, dancing, etc. It was also nice to see that the family tradition of attending it together was alive and well (we used to do that as kids too) with everyone dressed up and out on the town for a holiday night. Afterwards, we walked around downtown [Reno] and looked at the skating rink, all the lights and Christmas tree. It really put us in the holiday spirit and was a great way to kick it off. Thanks again, it was wonderful. Happy Holidays to you and yours. – Linda Graff
Breathtaking ballet: I searched the Internet for all Nutcracker performances in Reno/Sparks area. I loved the show at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts! The orchestra was excellent; live music always adds so much! The costumes were particularly beautiful, and the ballet was breathtaking. We took the whole family and everyone loved it. – Judy
Spectacular: I saw the advertisement for “The Nutcracker” on Facebook, and that is how I entered and won! The show was GREAT as usual. I have been “almost” every year but wasn’t planning on going this year until I won the tickets! As far as the show, I LOVED it, as well as my girlfriend who went with me. The show was wonderful and entertaining as usual, and I loved the fact the Reno Philharmonic was doing the music. All in all, it was GREAT and the ballet was spectacular! – Genelle Hanneman
Absolutely Stunning! I had seen “Don Giovanni” at the Pioneer Center several years ago, and I loved it! Although at the time I was too young to understand what was going on in the opera, I really enjoyed it and it was a great first-impression of Reno theater.
“The Nutcracker” was absolutely stunning. The costumes, the music, the dancing, the stage…all beautiful! I didn’t know Reno had so much talent, and I was surprised when I read in the program that the girl who played Clara went to my high school alma mater (McQueen High School). She, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and Mother Ginger were my favorites. The Reno Philharmonic Orchestra was lovely and brought Tchaikovsky’s music to life. -FreGenet