You can feel the magic of the Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker before the curtains even open at the Boston Opera House.
Just some of the 90,000 expected guests this season flooded the grandiose lobby to see this year’s re-vamped show, featuring fresh choreography, gorgeous sets and couture tutus.
The Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker is a 42-year-old tradition, and a holiday favorite along with the lighting of the Christmas tree on the Common and ice skating on the Frog Pond.
As the Boston Ballet approaches its 50th season, the world-renowned company continues to raise the bar as the team of talented dancers, designers and artists comes together to bring audiences a night of wonder and amazement. Preparation for the show has been in the works all year, resulting in the first new costumes in 17 years.
Having seen the Nutcracker countless times as a child, I was curious to see what this season’s show would be like, given the new choreography and designs. There are many changes in this year’s show, both obvious and subtle.
First of all, the set in the first scene is completely different from what I remembered. Drosselmeier, looking very Johny Depp in a sleek tailcoat, appears in what looks like a pop-up theater, adorned with props and tricks for an audience of children on the street. Drosselmeier really sets the stage for what is to come, a detailed and carefully designed show that really brings a “what’s next” approach to every scene.
When the curtain rises, an al fresco backdrop of clouds and ballerinas and snowflakes is revealed, matching the flowy costumes in every scene. The 350 new costumes, designed by Robert Perdziola, matched each dancer’s role perfectly. Sometimes less is more, and in this case the simplicity of the wardrobe allowed the audience to really focus on the dancers’ every move, choreographed by director Mikko Nissinen.
The scene of the Christmas party brought another noticeable change. An adorable bear in ballet slippers fumbled across the stage with the toy Nutcracker in hand, and had the audience laughing with Tchaikovsky’s score. And the surprises kept coming. As the Nutcracker Prince introduces Clara to a world of fantasy, the two float off in a cloud that carries them high above stage to each new place.
The most awe-inspiring acts of all were the solos by the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Snow Queen, both literally sparkling on stage in Swarovski crystals. Even after reading about the new costume designs in Women’s Wear Daily, I could not have expected to be so amazed by their sheer beauty. If any girl needs one more reason to want to be a ballerina, these tutus will do the trick.
If you haven’t been to see the Nutcracker, you must go while you have the chance to see this spectacular display. There is not a single minute of the show when your eyes will wander from the stage, and I promise you’ll go to bed with sugar plum fairies dancing in your head.