Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker Returns For Another Christmas Season Series

Posted November 10, 2016 by Brian Keaney in Theater & Arts
Boston Ballet's The Nutcracker. Photo Credit: Igor Bulgarian

Boston is often referred to as the Athens of the West for its glittering array of cultural institutions.  The 19th century Brahmins who ruled the city very consciously set out to create a flourishing community that would rival those of the great European powers of old.  Boston Ballet, one of the heirs of that legacy and by any measure one of the crowning jewels in the Hub’s arts pantheon, returns again this month with their annual production of The Nutcracker.

The iconic ballet runs from the Friday after Thanksgiving, November 25th, through the end of the year with a final performance on New Year’s Eve.  Performed in the gilded Boston Opera House, the show features the classic score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and is choreographed by Mikko Nissinen, the Finnish born Artistic Director of the local ballet company.

The two act production has been called “the granddaddy of them all” by the Boston Globe, and for good reason. With nearly half a century of shows under their belt, Boston Ballet puts on a rendition of this Christmas classic like none other.  The entire company, and over 250 students from the Boston Ballet School, take to the stage each season to produce an experience that is difficult to beat anywhere.  Casting for the show is not announced until two weeks before Opening Night.

Set on Christmas Eve in a small German village, the curtains open with the mysterious Drosselmeier putting on a children’s show in the village square.  Drosselmeier then hurries off to the Silberhaus’ Christmas party.  It is there that he presents Clara, his favorite niece, with a pair of ballet shoes and a nutcracker, with whom she quickly falls in love.

Clara drifts off to sleep, but is awoken by the midnight chimes.  As she opens her eyes she discovers mice dancing in the hall and that her precious nutcracker has come to life as a handsome prince.  At the Castle of the Snow King and Queen, the Nutcracker Prince battles the mice and is nearly lost when Clara hits a mouse with a thrown shoe.  A journey through the Magical Forest then commences where snowflakes dance and the Snow King and Queen greet the happy pair.

In the second act, Clara and the Nutcracker Prince arrive at the Nutcracker Prince’s Kingdom.  The Nutcracker Prince recounts how Clara saved his life, and the Sugar Plum Fairy presents Clara with a crown and a celebration is begun.  A number of countries dance for Clara before it is time for her to return home.  As she awakes on the couch again, she can not help but wonder if it was all just a dream.

The Nutcracker has become one of the most beloved Christmas traditions in Boston, and this is true for fans of all ages.  The Nutcraker is a family friendly show, but infants and children under two are not permitted inside the Opera House.  It is recommended for children over five, and there are booster seats available upon request.  All children must have their own tickets, and be accompanied by an adult at all times.

If you have never seen it before, or are continuing a long standing Christmas tradition, there is no better production than Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker.