The holiday season has officially arrived, and seeing The Nutcracker is one of my favorite ways to celebrate! Boston Ballet’s annual holiday tradition returned to the Boston Opera House on Friday, November 25, with performances running through December 31, 2022.
I attended the first performance of the season, and arrived early with Josh to grab a coffee and take our time arriving in the theater. While I’d usually recommend taking the train if you are coming from outside the city, I like to drive to see The Nutcracker in case we do any Christmas shopping before the ballet so it’s easy to put anything we buy right in the car before the show. (If you do opt to drive in, you can find parking garages near the Boston Opera House here.)
This year’s ballet includes the return of beloved characters and sequences missing from last year’s run as live performances were still returning to normal from the pandemic, so it was great to see the full Company alongside Boston Ballet II dancers, and Boston Ballet School students.
The Boston Opera House becomes even more spectacular during performances of The Nutcracker as Christmas trees add to the already breathtaking views in the lobby, so be sure to arrive early to take it all in (and so you don’t miss any of the ballet!), and to grab a champagne and check out the merch for sale before settling into your seat. (I don’t know if they’ve had these same plush bears every year or if they are new, but the ones at the shop in the lobby were adorable!)
The Nutcracker is truly one of my favorite holiday traditions, and while I have to admit that we do put our tree up before Thanksgiving (sorrynotsorry), it doesn’t feel like the season really starts until we see The Nutcracker. Regardless of how familiar I am with the choreography, costumes, sets, and of course, the score, I will continue to be in awe of this performance year after year.
Mikko Nissinen’s The Nutcracker performed each holiday season is one of the largest shows Boston Ballet has put on, dating back to 2012. Award-winning scenic and costume designer Robert Perdziola returned this year as well to design over 350 gorgeous costumes for the production. And music for the ballet by Tchaikovsky is performed by the Boston Ballet Orchestra led by Music Director Mischa Santora.
The Nutcracker is also a great first ballet for little ones as the story is familiar and easy to follow with the performance running just about two hours (with one 15-minute intermission.) The ballet is recommended for children ages five and up, so it could easily be a fun holiday tradition for the whole family. (Note that infants and children under the age of two are not allowed in the theater.)
There is also a sensory-friendly performance of The Nutcracker scheduled for December 31, at 1:30 p.m. that will feature several accommodations to make the ballet accessible for more viewers, including removal of strobe lights, sudden loud sound effects, longer intermissions, and more.
As of this writing, no proof of vaccination or mask requirements are in place for Boston Ballet performances at the Boston Opera House, though masking is recommended (it wouldn’t hurt to double check these policies before you attend this, or any other live performance though, just to be safe!)
One of the best things about any live performance at the Boston Opera House is that nearly every seat is a good seat. Tickets for The Nutcracker start at $39, and the layout of the theater offers a great view from multiple sections.
Visit BostonBallet.org/Nutcracker to purchase tickets, and enjoy this favorite holiday tradition!
Featured image credit: Lia Cirio and Patrick Yocum in Mikko Nissinen’s The Nutcracker; photo by Liza Voll; courtesy of Boston Ballet (left).