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2017 round-up David Nicholson's performances of the year

THE ARTISTIC scene in Wales exploded into glorious life in 2017, with four productions which will live long in the memory of those fortunate to have seen them.

Inspired by the Russian Revolution and performed as part of the centenary celebrations in Wales, they included a jewel of a production of the Cherry Orchard at the Sherman Theatre. This reimagination by Gary Owen of Anton Chekhov’s play is likely to become a classic in its own right.

The action, revolving around selling off the eponymous orchard and having it redeveloped into homes that can be flogged off to make a Thatcherite fast buck, was transplanted from early 20th century Russia to 1980s Wales and the direction and acting were superlative.

Welsh National Opera’s production of Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin was sublime. The opera, a mannered study in unrequited love, is memorable for its acting, fine singing, wonderful costumes, dancing, fabulous staging and a simple tale told in a gripping way.
Performances like this typify the many first-rate WNO productions this year.

The BBC National Orchestra of Wales captivated with a masterful rendition of Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony no. 12, The Year 1917, otherwise known as the Lenin Symphony.

The Soviet composer’s work celebrates the Bolshevik-led revolution and marked Lenin’s unique contribution to it. But it was Alexander Mosolov’s little-known work from 1927, The Iron Foundry, which really captivated the audience.

Mosolov’s work celebrated the revolution’s 10th anniversary and was originally intended to be part of a complete ballet called Steel.

The BBC players had a ball as they conveyed the heat and noise of an industrial foundry, right down to the percussion section hammering a piece of drainpipe and a large iron sheet.
The National Dance Company of Wales's stunning production of P.A.R.A.D.E. was the real star of the Welsh celebration of the revolution.

An updated reimagining of this revolutionary dance-theatre combo was brilliant and really does deserve to be seen by a wider audience.

Welsh artist Marc Rees and choreographer Caroline Finn pulled off a production of dance magic, theatre and comedy, fused into a package of pure joy.

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