Mikko Nissinen's The Nutcracker Brings Holiday Spirit to Boston

LizaVollPhotography-9448 It's not Christmas in the city without a little magic. Still nursing Thanksgiving food hangovers, patrons headed to the Boston Opera House to welcome the holiday season with the dazzling Boston Ballet performance of Mikko Nissinen's The Nutcracker last Friday. The production will run between Nov. 28 to Dec. 31.   

With a cast of over 300 dancers from around the globe, the show tells the story of young Clara who becomes enchanted with a toy nutcracker given to her by her Uncle Drosselmeier at the family's Christmas Eve party and the imaginative adventure that follows. This production of The Nutcracker, now in its third year, is based on the libretto by Alexandre Dumas, titled The Tale of the Nutcracker, which is adapted from E. T. A. Hoffmann’s story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. Artistic Director Nissinen and award winning designer Robert Perdziola set the ballet in the early 1800's Jane Austen era, and created over 350 exquisite handmade costumes and dynamic sets and props. Each performance is accompanied by P.I. Tchaikovsky’s renowned score, performed by the Boston Ballet Orchestra.

As the story goes, the Christmas Eve festivities come to an end, which includes Drosselmeier's mechanical ballerina and harlequin, so the guests take their leave and the children are sent to bed. Except that Clara is too excited to sleep, and sneaks into the living room to find the Nutcracker under the tree and eventually falls asleep on the sofa, cradling the toy. As Clara falls deeper into her slumber, the mice come out to play, and that's when things get extraordinary; Uncle Drosselmeier makes a reappearance, and the Nutcracker turns into a real life handsome prince.

The show's humor was not lost on the audience as they laughed and watched in amusement during the battle between the Mouse King and his blundering mice, and the Nutcracker Prince and his army of stoic soldiers. Amusement soon turned into awe when the ballet transitioned from the first act's narrative flow to the second act's visual brilliance. Act two was the ballet's height of aesthetic opulence with impressive set displays, sparkling costumes worn by elegant ballerinas, multi-cultural dances, and breathtaking solo performances.

Nissinen's all-new ending to the classic story might give the audience reason to believe that it was not all just a dream, but the gift of holiday magic. Whether you choose to believe or not, The Nutcracker is a performance of high caliber and will continue to be a part of Boston's Christmas tradition for years to come.