Christmas just isn’t complete without The Nutcracker.
The Mouse King.
And, of course, the Sugar Plum Fairy and so much more. In all, there more than 122 characters on stage during the ballet.
You can see it at the Detroit Opera House when the Michigan Opera Theatre kicks off the holiday season with the return of BalletMet’s The Nutcracker, with four performances Nov. 25-27. Based in Columbus, Ohio, BalletMet ranks among the nation’s 20 largest ballet companies.
Here are the show times:
- Friday, Nov. 25, 2:30 p.m.
- Saturday, Nov. 26, 2:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
- Sunday, Nov. 27, 2:30 p.m.
The ballet features more than 80 local dancers, as well as the live Michigan Opera Theatre orchestra playing the classic Tchaikovsky score.
To enhance the magical experience, Michigan Opera Theatre is offering several complementary activities during each of the family matinees:
- Live reindeer prior to performance
- Photos with Santa & Nutcracker
- Holiday-themed craft making for the kids courtesy of Arts & Scraps
- Free samples of holiday ice cream courtesy of Treat Dreams
- The Sugar Plum Parade on stage following the performance
- High school choirs in the grand lobby at intermission
A free conversation with the artists begins one hour prior to each performance.
BalletMet will also give a master class on Saturday, Nov. 26 from 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. to beginner to intermediate ballet students. The class is free with corresponding ticket to The Nutcracker or $25 without. Pre-registration is required. More information please click here.
“The Nutcracker is a classic, beloved ballet, and we are excited to present it again with our partners at BalletMet,” says Artistic Director David DiChiera. “With music by our Michigan Opera Theatre orchestra, live reindeer and holiday-themed activities to complement the performance, we are proud to offer a truly magical experience to get the entire family into the holiday spirit.”
The Nutcracker is indeed a magical experience. Here’s how the story goes.
Young Clara and her toy Nutcracker-turned-prince take a magical evening journey on Christmas Eve. All the toys around the Christmas tree come to life, and a battle breaks between an army of mice, led by the fierce Mouse King, and the Nutcracker and his army of toy soldiers. When it seems all is lost and the Nutcracker and his army are captured by the mice and their king, Clara saves the day. She throws her slipper at the Mouse King, hits him in the head and he dies.
The Nutcracker then takes Clara to the Land of Snow where they see dancing snowflakes. Then it’s on to the Land of Sweets where they meet the Sugar Plum Fairy, who rewards them for their bravery with a celebration of dances. They are all beautiful, but my favorites have always been the Russian Dance and the Waltz of the Flowers.
In the end Clara wakes from her dream and the Nutcracker is once again a toy.
The prominence of the nutcracker in the holidays does beg the question, how did it became so closely associated with Christmas? Here’s the answer, according to The Christmas Game.
It was all because of Peter Tchaikovsky who, in 1892, turned an 1816 E.T.A. Hoffman story, “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” into the ballet “The Nutcracker Suite.” It was modestly successful, and nutcrackers increased in popularity, but only in Europe.
When American soldiers were stationed in Germany after World War II they discovered the German nutcrackers and sent them home as Christmas gifts. Today, they are a prominent symbol of Christmas.
The Nutcracker is the story of the triumph of good, of acceptance and of goodwill – just the right story for the Christmas holidays.
Ticket prices range from $29 to $110 and may be purchased online at www.MichiganOpera.org, by calling (313) 237-7464 or in person at the Detroit Opera House (1526 Broadway, Detroit). Tickets may also be purchased at Ticketmaster.com, at any Ticketmaster outlet, or by calling (800) 745-3000.
For more information visit http://www.michiganopera.org/dance/the-nutcracker/.