December 11 – 26, 2020 | Keller Auditorium
222 SW Clay Street, Portland, Oregon 97201
Sometimes the best journeys are the ones we take to familiar places—filled with tradition and the expectation of making new memories with friends and family in familiar settings. Oregon Ballet Theatre’s annual performance of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® has brought joy to the holidays for 18 years. Join Marie and her charming Prince as they are swept away by dancing snowflakes to a magical land of sweets ruled by the Sugar Plum Fairy and all to the music of Tchaikovsky’s brilliant score!
Choreography by George Balanchine | Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Production Sponsored by
Featuring 11 performances with the OBT Orchestra
= indicates a performance with live music featuring the OBT Orchestra
It is Christmas Eve in Germany 150 years ago: Doctor and Frau Stahlbaum, along with their children Marie and Fritz, are hosting an elegant holiday party. In a festive parlor with a splendid Christmas tree, they entertain friends and relatives with games, dances, and gifts. At the stroke of eight, an owl suddenly flaps its wings over the grandfather clock in the corner of the room; the lights flicker and fail. The party is swept up in a sense of wonder as Marie’s godfather, the mysterious Herr Drosselmeier, makes a dramatic entrance with his young nephew. They have brought life-sized dancing toys that they unveil to the delight of the assembled guests. Drosselmeier then presents Marie with a special gift: a Nutcracker.
Marie proudly shows off her new toy until Fritz, in a jealous tantrum, seizes the doll and breaks it. Drosselmeier mends the Nutcracker with his handkerchief and gives the doll to Marie, who tucks it into a toy bed beneath the Christmas tree. After a final dance, which Marie shares with the nephew, the guests say goodnight and the family goes to bed. At midnight, Marie sneaks back to look for her Nutcracker. She soon falls asleep; the room begins to change.
Giant mice scurry through the shadows while the Christmas tree and the toys beneath it grow bigger and bigger. Under a now-towering tree, the mice, led by their fierce King, do battle with the Nutcracker and his army of toy soldiers. It seems the mice will be triumphant until, at the very last moment, Marie throws her slipper at the King, distracting him long enough for the Nutcracker to run him through with his sword and seize victory. Exhausted, Marie falls onto her bed and is magically transported to the Land of Snow. There, where snowflakes dance, she is reunited with the Nutcracker, now transformed into a handsome young Prince.
The Nutcracker Prince leads Marie on a journey to the Palace of the Land of Sweets, where the Sugar Plum Fairy reigns. There, the Prince tells the court how Marie saved him in his battle with the Mouse King. As a reward, the Sugar Plum Fairy seats them both upon a special throne to enjoy the dancing of Spanish Hot Chocolate, Arabian Coffee, and Tea from China. Candy Canes also perform for the two, along with Marzipan Shepherdesses, Mother Ginger and her Polichinelles, and the beautiful Dew Drop Fairy and her Flowers. As a final honor, the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier dance a majestic pas de deux. Marie and the Nutcracker Prince thank the Sugar Plum Fairy for her grand entertainment. Everyone in the Land of Sweets gathers to bid them farewell.
Approximately 2 hours and 5 minutes with one 25 minute intermission