**Disclosure: I received a pair of tickets to see The Nutcracker at no charge in order to facilitate this post. All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**
When I was in the 4th grade, my class took a field trip into Boston to see a matinee performance of Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker. Being nine years old at the time, I basically had no appreciation for what I was watching. Fast forward to the present when I had a chance to go see this years production of The Nutcracker at The Boston Opera House and got a second chance to take in the show – as a “grown up” with a whole different outlook on the show. My husband, Chris, had never even seen The Nutcracker before, so I knew he was going to be in for a real treat.
“Mikko Nissinen’s The Nutcracker is based on the libretto by Alexandre Dumas père titled The Tale of the Nutcracker, which is adapted from E. T. A. Hoffmann’s story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.”
The show itself was absolutely breath taking. All of the dancers were so graceful and they all did such a great job of telling the story through dance. Chris and I sat there in awe throughout the entire show.
More than 300 dancers will perform in the new production and 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).
As I sat and watched the show, one of the things that really stood out to me were the costumes and the set. Both were absolutely stunning and here are a few interesting tidbits about the set and costumes.
Nutcracker set and Costumes fun facts:
- All of the sets and costumes are new, by award winning designer Robert Perdziola
- Perdziola has created sets and costumes for a variety of opera and ballet companies, including the Metropolitan Opera and American Ballet Theatre.
- The inspiration for the costumes in the production references the early 19th century Regency style also identified with the “Jane Austen period”.
- Perdziola drew 40 sketches for the costumes with countless smaller sketches in pencil
- 182 costumes appear on stage in a single performance but approximately 350 were made for multiple casts
- Over 2,000 yards of net and tulle were used for the costumes
- Over 200,000 jewels were used in the costumes, from 3 mm diameter to 18 mm 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 small tree in the living room is 16 feet and 11 inches tall.
- The sets feature ornate details, hand painted frescoes, and lavish finishes.
- Additional wings create a rich optical illusion and a more spacious stage effect.
- 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).
- All of the sets were painted by hand and domestically made.
- Most scenery was built at Mystic Scenic Studio in Norwood.
- Most props were built in Boston Ballet’s 40,000-square-foot building in Newburyport.
- Additional props were made in NYC, Stratford, Ontario, and Kansas
The Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker runs November 28 –December 31, 2014 at The Boston Opera House (539 Washington St). Show times are Tuesday-Saturday at 7:30 pm, Sunday at 5:30 pm, and all matinees are at 1:00 pm, This year, there are a total of 44 performances and tickets start at just $29! Tickets can be purchased online at www.bostonballet.org or over the phone at 617.695.6955.
You can read more about Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker here: http://bit.ly/1v9TMQn
If you get a chance to see the show before this years final performance, please do it. There is something special about going into the city to see The Nutcracker at Christmas time and trust me, it’s something everyone should experience at least once in their lives.