Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker brings magic to the season

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Stepping out of the winter chill into the palatial foyer of the Boston Opera House, ruby walls of damask warm your face and towering columns of snow-white marble lift your eyes to a grand center staircase showcasing a majestic, emerald-green Christmas tree.

Arriving at the theater for this season’s showing of the Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker is a transformative journey into the vibrant dreams of a little girl. The opulence of the Opera House is an integral part of the performance. Its flourish and shine dress the stage well before the orchestrated enchantment begins to waltz into your heart.

Walking deeper into the theater, celestial ceilings trimmed by gilded, elaborately carved reliefs glisten overhead. By the shimmering light of countless sparkling crystal chandeliers, guests feel delightfully, dizzyingly dazzled as they settle into richly upholstered seats waiting for the stage to dim and the audience to hush — eager to take in those first familiar notes of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s holiday masterpiece.

As the curtain slowly rises, the first Christmas gift of the year opens! Chiffoned little Clara “pointes” the audience towards a festive 1820 Christmas Eve party with family and friends then into her dreams filled with fantasy, adventure and innocence.

This season’s performance is a memorable 2013 adaptation of the timeless ballet that premiered at the Maryinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1892. Boston Ballet’s two-hour production leads children aged 2 to 92 into a grand-styled, wide-eyed, winter wonderland, adopting the gifts of lavish costuming, sweeping dance, mesmerizing scenery and Tchaikovsky’s iconic score.

Toe shoe ribbons magically tie the audience into each Arabesque, Chasse, Releve and Rond-de-Jame. Jewel-encrusted feathery tutus, crowns and tiaras glitter like stars in a perfect winter night’s sky. The theater stilled as snow flakes fluttered around the Grand Pas de Deux of the Sugar Plum Fairy and Nutcracker Prince.

Choreographed by Mikko Nissinen, principal dancers soar above the talented students of the Boston Ballet program. Their synchronization adds glamour and charm to the production, which moves flawlessly from a lilting adagio grandparent party to grande jete battles with the Mouse King, and an ice-colored gossamer snow scene of living snowflakes, king and queen.

After a 15-minute intermission, Clara’s dream drifts into the increasingly colorful second act of the Nutcracker Prince’s kingdom. Like snow crystals, each scene is original, with a unique story. Together the lighting, scenery, music and talented dancers capture the imagination, engaging audience members by elevating and celebrating this classic holiday tale. An eight minute standing ovation concluded the opening-night performance. It’s likely to be the first of many raves before the Boston Opera House ends its 42 scheduled performances of Boston Ballet’s magical 2015 version of The Nutcracker.

The Boston Opera House is located at 539 Washington Street. Tickets begin at $35 and can be purchased at the Boston Ballet’s website. No need to bring a crown or tiara, the Boston Opera House joyfully provides paper ones for all!

Diane Kilgore is a Boston-based blogger.

How many presents are you buying your kids this year?





Nothing but a lump of coal

We don’t give gifts

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