City Opera Ballet has restored its 2007 rendition of The Snowman, based on the cherished children’s book by Raymond Briggs. Many audience members will likely remember the ineffable combination of Brigg’s ethereal colored pencil illustrations set to a powerful orchestral score by Howard Blake. In both the movie version and the ballet, Blake’s haunting theme, “Walking in the Air” for boy soprano, remains imprinted in the listener’s memory. Student Rahul Bothra, a member of Bellevue Youth Choir, sang the solo in the November 26th production.
Jennifer Porter’s choreography unites Ballet Bellevue dancers, students of the Ballet Bellevue School, and the Orchestra Bellevue, directed by Philip Tschopp. Frosty backdrops, scrims, and movable set pieces bring this modern fairy tale to life on the stage of The Theatre at Meydenbauer Center. Caleb Rumsey, age 11, plays the role of James, whose magically animated snowman leads him on a winter adventure. Other students of Ballet Bellevue’s school portray spritely animals such as bunnies, reindeer, and penguins. Ballet Bellevue company dancer Nathan Cook brought levity to the role of Fox, his technique crystalline in a brisk petit allegro section.
Just like in another familiar holiday ballet, Act II of City Opera Ballet’s The Snowman offered treats. Silly, droopy trees tiptoed charmingly away from James and the title character, timed perfectly to their musical accompaniment. The Snowman, Kyle Matthew Johnson, performed the grand Pas de Deux that Nutcracker fans might be expecting with the elegant Ice Princess Lorraine Constantine. And the Cheeky Reindeer, Thomas Phelan, stole the show with his exaggerated flamboyance, well-cast in contrast to the poised and proper Behaving Reindeer, played by students Vanessa Hsu and Katie Zhao.
For families, City Opera Ballet’s The Snowman presents a heartwarming alternative to The Nutcracker this holiday season. For more information on City Opera Ballet, please visit HERE.