with the Minnesota Ballet Orchestra & the UMD Women’s Chorus
Friday, December 13, 2019 at 7 pm
Saturday, December 14, 2019 at 7 pm
Sunday, December 15, 2019 at 3 pm
Symphony Hall, The DECC
This magical family favorite by Allen Fields captivates as a holiday treat. Experience a young girl’s enchanting dream as her beloved Nutcracker doll comes to life on Christmas Eve.
The duo fights a fierce battle against mice, waltzes in a dreamy winter wonderland, and journeys to exotic lands rules by the Sugar Plum Fairy.
“Time to check ‘The Nutcracker’ magic off of your holiday list”—Duluth News Tribune
BACKGROUND: Before You Go to THE NUTCRACKER…
The Minnesota Ballet’s Nutcracker production began as a dream for Artistic Director Emeritus Allen Fields. Visions took shape: The time frame in the early 1900’s, with the Edwardian Age elegant in fashion and architecture. The Opening Scene in a busy Manhattan street. The Party Scene in an opulent Manhattan townhouse. The Snow Scene in a glittery Central Park. A three-dimensional set, richly textured, vibrantly colored. Five years later, in 2009 the vision became a dazzling reality.
The largest production in the Ballet’s history, it took the efforts of a small army to create and assemble in time for the premiere December 2009. Minnesota Duluth, designed the hard set, with the classic brownstone townhouse fashioned like a giant dollhouse on wheels to allow rotating from exterior to interior.
For costuming, Ballet Costumer/Designer Sandra Ehle researched Edwardian Era fashions and worked from reproductions of 1905 dress patterns for the Party Scene gowns. She herself stitched or oversaw the crew of eleven stitchers to create more than 100 costumes from the adorable gingerbread suits, to the starkly ice-blue Snowflake tutus, to the lovely Flower costumes inspired by real blooms and looking as if they stepped out of a Degas dancer painting.
Delicious details abound in the story. The bowed heads of the child Carolers as they exit under the scowl of their prim leaders. The red petticoat peeping from the Housekeeper’s sedately gray dress, hinting at the flirtation to come. Clara desperately decking the Mouse King with a wad of cheese.
And it’s more than a visual banquet. Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score, played live by the Minnesota Ballet Orchestra, elates from the first dramatic notes of the overture, to the children’s lively galop, to the rousing Russian dance, to the celesta’s “music-box” notes for the Sugar Plum Fairy. The pure voices of the University of Minnesota Duluth Women’s Chorus deepen the music of “The Waltz of the Snowflakes.”
The Nutcracker Story
The story opens at a holiday party filled with spirited dance and boisterous pranks, when young Clara receives a wooden nutcracker from Uncle Drosselmeyer. Later that night, Clara returns to the darkened, empty room to claim her nutcracker, and soon a battle begins. The Nutcracker—now grown to life size—leads soldiers on hobbyhorses fighting mice warriors and aiming a cannon that fires cheese. The fight is desperate until Clara intervenes, saving the Nutcracker, who reveals himself as a prince.
Clara and the Prince embark on a magical journey, beginning in a snow-capped Central Park, where the Ice Fairy leads whirling snowflakes in a waltz. Then off they go to exotic lands with Asian, Arabian, Spanish, Russian dancers, Mother Ginger with her batch of “cookies,” the Dew Drop Fairy with waltzing flowers, and the Sugar Plum Fairy with her Cavalier—all a beautiful holiday dream.
SYMPHONY HALL is a fully accessible facility. Please call the Ballet if you have special seating needs: 218-529-3742.