Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker

Call me old-fashioned, or maybe I’m just a simple persona in that I adore a good tradition.

Yearly rituals help me to punctuate the moments in my life. They’re also a constant that offers a type of cozy security, but best of all, I love the experience of sharing a tradition with the people I love.

One of my traditions during the holiday season has become watching Boston Ballet‘s performance of The Nutcracker, and I share it with my two sons, 12-year-old Vincent and 14-year-old Rhett. This year, we enjoyed this seasonal joy on November 24th, opening night.

We always make a night of it, with a fancy holiday dinner before, and then load up on cotton candy and other goodies from the concession stand. And then we wait for the magic.

Pre-Show Dinner at Grill 23.
Pre-Show Dinner at Grill 23.

And, of course, Boston Ballet delivered the magic.

Choreographed by Mikko Nissinen, the performance is an exquisite tapestry of classical tradition and innovation. Nissinen’s choreography masterfully blends classical ballet with elements of enchantment and whimsy, such as Mother Ginger and her Polichinelles, who inject a delightful dose of lightheartedness into the performance. It’s been one of my favorite scenes since I was a little girl!

Visually, the production is a marvel. Even the curtain opening, which opens from the top and sides, is visually appealing and reminiscent of a silent movie scene transition. When the black curtains are fully opened, they reveal the famously opulent sets and costumes, perfectly capturing the magical essence of Clara’s world and my boys’ attention and mine. Each scene then unfolds like a rich, visual feast, brimming with intricate details and sumptuous designs.

Boston Ballet’s performance in Mikko Nissinen’s Nutcracker solidifies its standing as one of the leading ballet companies in the United States. We watched some of the world’s most proficient and expressive dancers, whose technical skill and emotional depth bring the characters and story to life in a captivating and poignant manner. And no matter how many times we go to the Nutcracker, we’re always amazed by the leaps of the bear and Russian dancers and, of course, the technical difficulty and extreme grace executed by the Sugar Plum Fairy, danced to perfection on the 24th by Viktorina Kapitonova.

Ji Young Chae in Mikko Nissinen's The Nutcracker, photo by Brooke Trisolini, courtesy of Boston Ballet
Ji Young Chae in Mikko Nissinen’s The Nutcracker, photo by Brooke Trisolini, courtesy of Boston Ballet

Overall, Boston Ballet in The Nutcracker is a must-see production. Its magical storytelling and artistic brilliance captivate both ballet enthusiasts and newcomers alike. For us, it’s a beautiful exclamation point to the start of the holiday season. I hope some of those newcomers will make Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker a holiday tradition for years to come.

The show runs through New Year’s Eve.

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