TORONTO—For those living in Toronto, it’s hard to miss the dancing bear posters during the holiday season signalling the arrival of the National Ballet of Canada’s beloved rendition of James Kudelka’s classic staging of The Nutcracker.
The last few shows before the production closes on Jan. 3 mark the debut of guest conductor Nathan Brock, the assistant conductor of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.
This is Brock’s first time conducting a ballet, but under the wing of music director David Briskin he found himself growing through the new artistic medium.
“[It’s] an experience outside of the box for me and one that I think I will really cherish,” he said.
A mostly symphonic conductor, Brock has found himself gaining a new perspective on the familiar score through working with the dancers and choreographers.
“It’s a very familiar score, but then to have to reappraise it and to rethink and to accept it in these different ways is really interesting,” says the young conductor, adding that the experience is both challenging and rewarding.A holiday favourite, not only with classical concert goers but also in shopping malls, Tchaikovsky’s score for The Nutcracker is one that few fail to recognize. What makes this music so popular with young and old alike?
“There’s a spiritedness in the music. It’s uplifting in the vast majority of the numbers and if it’s not uplifting, it’s touching, it’s heart-warming, it’s all of those things,” says Brock, who like most conductors never tires of the works of the great masters.