After canceling in-person performances last year due to COVID, Clara, her prince and all of the characters from the Land of Sweets are back onstage at Music Hall for the Cincinnati Ballet's annual rendition of The Nutcracker.
And they are heralding its return to "full pre-pandemic splendor," with a live performance of Tchaikovsky’s score performed by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.
This year's production is the version created by ballet Artistic Director Victoria Morgan and includes elaborate sets, costumes, lighting and choreography. It debuted in 2011, and this year's run marks the final staging for Morgan, as she retires from her 25-year tenure with the Cincinnati Ballet at the end of the 2021-22 season.
“This whole story, Clara’s story is a child’s fantastic dream,” Morgan says in the release. “The holidays are about joy, and I hope this production brings everyone as much joy as it has brought me over the years. It has been my honor and pleasure to share my Nutcracker with our patrons and the community.”
The holiday tale follows the adventures of Clara and her Nutcracker Prince as they do battle with the Mouse King and make their way to the Land of Sweets.
Morgan’s version of The Nutcracker is "filled with unique, contemporary twists on longstanding traditions: from the bright, whimsical sets, stage effects and acrobatics to the appearance of new, playful characters such as Clara’s companion, a pet poodle named Minnie; dancing Cupcakes; tumbling Snowballs; an ensemble of poodles performing the Dance of the Mirlitons (or “Mirlipoos”) and more," writes the ballet in a release.
As is the custom, the cast also features dozens of Greater Cincinnati children dancing alongside the ballet company — but this year they have to be 12 and older and fully vaccinated.
“Children are the heart and soul of the production and bring a magical energy as they perform," says Morgan in the release.
The Nutcracker will be onstage at Music Hall (1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine) from Dec. 16 through Dec. 26. Proof of COVID vaccination or a negative PCR test from the past 72 hours is required, along with a mask. (Music Hall and the Aronoff Center have adopted a new vaccine passport app, where patrons can — but don't have to — store their information.) Tickets start at $29.
Get tickets and more info at cballet.org.
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