Boston Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” Review and Giveaway

It’s December, which means downtowns are getting decked out with wreaths, lights, and bows. Christmas music becomes unavoidable. Also, it’s the season for The Nutcracker.

[UPDATE: Thank you all so much for reading and entering. I loved your entries and wish I had tickets to give each and every one of you. I randomly selected a winner, Rica, and if she doesn’t respond by noon on Wednesday, I will pick another winner. Wishing you all the best holiday season and New Year!! —OH, and here’s another giveaway for Nutcracker tickets on my friend Gilda’s blog! http://evan-and-lauren-a.blogspot.com/2014/12/12714-boston-ballets-nutcracker-and.html ]

We brought the boys to see a performance of it last year, put on by their cousin’s dance school. They were enthralled.

This year, we were offered the chance to see the Boston Ballet perform The Nutcracker at the Boston Opera House. In a word: Fantastic.

Photo credit: Boston Ballet

Photo credit: Boston Ballet

First, though, we went to one of the many Story Hours, hosted by Boston Ballet in and around Boston. Our story hour took place at the Boston Ballet School itself.

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A young dancer told the children the story of The Nutcracker. She showed us a pancake tutu and explained how it sticks out and stays flat. She explained about pointe shoes (they’re so hard at first that dancers must beat them on the floor, pound them with a hammer, and pour hot water on them to make them malleable enough to wear!). We got to touch tiaras and pointe shoes, and then she got the children up to practice some ballet moves.

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For more information about the story hours and where/when to find them, click here.

And then, after lunch, we were off to the Opera House! We opted to walk the mile from the studio to the Opera House, which got us there in the very nick of time. We didn’t get to see the orchestra warming up. Don’t be us. Get there early.

 

Photo credit: Boston Ballet

Photo credit: Boston Ballet

Here are some fun facts about The Nutcracker that intrigued me before we even got to the show:

Nutcracker Facts:

–        More than 300 dancers will perform in the new production.

–        Each performance has approximately 150 dancers involved.

–        There are 250 children in the performance, making up three or four casts (classical ballet students from the Boston, Newton and North Shore studios)

Sets and Costumes:

–        All of the sets and costumes are new, by award winning designer Robert Perdziola

–        The inspiration for the costumes in the production references the early 19th century Regency style also identified with the “Jane Austen period”.

–        Over 2,000 yards of net and tulle were used for the costumes

–        Over 200,000 jewels were used in the costumes, from 3mm diameter to 18mm long

  • Sugar Plums and Dew Drops have over 3,600 jewels on their tutus and bodices
  • Approximately 1/3 of the jewels are hand sewn

–        The Christmas tree is 42 feet 6 inches tall and there are 766 fiber optic points embedded in the big Christmas tree and there are 600 ornaments.–        The set changes include a series of reveals where scenes appear to iris out of one another.

–        To make three pieces of scenery move at once, the ballet’s technical staff built rigging and tracking systems on monstrous steel cages (in the show these systems are manipulated by one stagehand pulling a rope). [HOW COOL IS THAT??]

–        All of the sets were painted by hand and domestically made.

The sets were unbelievable—so ornate, so beautiful (and moved by one person, pulling a rope—I still can’t get over that part). So were the costumes. And of course, the dancers themselves were perfect, strong and skilled. The boys watched, totally mesmerized. Remember, they are four and six years old and not into ballet. We were all surprised when intermission came and we realized so much time had passed.

 

Photo credit: Boston Ballet

Photo credit: Boston Ballet

After intermission is less story, more pure dancing. Even if you, like me, are not a big fan of ballet itself, there’s the Arabian dance, Mother Ginger (with all her little polichinelles [which basically means “open secrets”]), and (our favorite) the Russian dance, performed by three very acrobatic men.

 

Photo credit: Boston Ballet

Photo credit: Boston Ballet

My boys’ favorites were (of course!) the battle scene between the Mouse King and the Nutcracker and his soldiers, though we somehow all missed the flinging of the slipper. I also was transfixed by the lovely snow scene. The boys also greatly liked the Nutcracker Prince’s soloing in the second act, as well as the acrobatic dancers in the Russian dance.

Photo credit: Boston Ballet

Photo credit: Boston Ballet

For a quick video of some of our favorite scenes, click here: Nutcracker Highlights.

This morning my little one wore his paper Nutcracker crown into school and proudly showed all his teachers and friends.

The Boston Opera House is gorgeous.

The Boston Opera House is gorgeous.

And Now, The Giveaway! 

I’m giving away four tickets to The Nutcracker at the Boston Opera House. Tickets are valid for winner’s choice of the following performances:

  • Wed, Dec 10 @ 7:30pm
  • Tue, Dec 16 @ 7:30pm
  • Wed, Dec 17 @ 7:30pm
  • Thu, Dec 18 @ 1pm
  • Thu, Dec  18 @ 7:30pm

To enter, simply leave a comment telling me why you want to see to see The Nutcracker. Make sure I have your email address!! LIMITED TO ONE ENTRY PER PERSON.

Note: This is a quick-turnaround giveaway! Winner will be RANDOMLY selected at noon EST Tuesday, December 9, using random.org. Winner will be notified by email. If winner does not respond within 24 hours to claim prize, another winner will be selected. 

UPDATE: Thank you all so much for reading and entering. I loved your entries and wished I had tickets to give each and every one of you. I randomly selected a winner, Rica, and if she doesn’t respond by noon on Wednesday, I will pick another winner. Wishing you all the best holiday season and New Year!! 

More Information about Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker:

         About Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker: http://bit.ly/1v9TMQn

–        Runs November 28 –December 31, 2014

–        All performances are at the Boston Opera House

–        Tickets start at $29

–        Tickets can be purchased online at www.bostonballet.org or over the phone at 617.695.6955

–        There are 44 performances

–        Show times: Tuesday-Saturday at 7:30pm, Sunday at 5:30pm, all matinees are at 1:00pm

[Disclosure: I was provided with complimentary tickets and lunch. All opinions are my own.]

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