So-So Nutcracker From L.A.

Review by: David Hurwitz


Artistic Quality: 7

Sound Quality: 8

Confession time. I don’t get Gustavo Dudamel. The only exciting thing about him is the PR that says he’s supposed to be exciting. I have yet to hear a performance that sustains his carefully crafted image as a young hot shot. This Nutcracker is no exception. It’s well played, nicely paced, but has virtually nothing individual or characterful to recommend it. The first act drags–just a little, but noticeably–with the battle scene in particular lacking snap. Dudamel seems most interested in the gorgeous orchestral colors at the start of Act 2 which are, well, gorgeous. The famous dance numbers could be more imaginatively done. Where is the fire in the Trepak, or the exotic glitter of the Sugar Plum Fairy? Granted, we’ve heard all this stuff a million times before, and doing something distinctive isn’t easy, but surely Dudamel could have conveyed more fun, more wonder, and above all, more energy.

Buy Now from Arkiv Music

Recording Details:

Reference Recording: Dorati (Philips); Slatkin (RCA)

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