Decades of The Nutcracker Holiday Magic, Reinvented
It is very fitting that in its 50th year, The Nutmeg Ballet will mesmerize audiences with a dazzling reinvention of “The Nutcracker,” a beloved holiday tradition the conservatory has presented for more than 40 years.
A fairytale ballet in two acts, “The Nutcracker” centers around a family’s Christmas Eve celebration. Alexandre Dumas Père’s adaptation of the story by E.T.A. Hoffmann was set to music by Tchaikovsky. It was then commissioned by the director of Moscow’s Imperial Theatres in 1891, and premiered a week before Christmas 1892. Since premiering in western countries in the 1940s, it has become one of the most popular ballets to be performed during the Christmas holiday season.
The Nutmeg has been delighting audiences of all ages with this enchanting classic for the past 42 years. And the exquisite previous set, designed by Campbell Baird in 1996, has been transporting audiences to grand foyers, battlefields, snow-covered forests, and distant lands for over two decades. Now it’s time for this venerable design to retire, with an innovative new production poised to enchant audiences anew.
When the curtain rises on this year’s performances at The Warner Theatre and The Bushnell, it will reveal captivating new sets by Roger LaVoie Scenic Designs, a firm that specializes in designing scenery for professional ballet and opera. The Nutmeg’s magical new “Nutcracker” also features beautiful new costumes, designed by Janessa Cornell Urwin and Susan Aziz, with lighting designed by Brian Sciarra, whose work has graced such world-class venues as The Metropolitan Opera and the Royal Opera House in London.
The Nutmeg’s innovative and sophisticated 2019 production also showcases elegant and challenging new choreography, under the direction of Victoria Mazzarelli, artistic director, and Timothy Melady, ballet master. The young dancers have been rehearsing tirelessly with their instructors—with passionate intensity and dedication—to bring the heroine Clara’s story to life at an impressively professional level.
The renowned Nutmeg Ballet Conservatory was founded by Sharon E. Dante in 1969 in Torrington, in a small studio on Water Street. Now housed in a modern 50,000 square foot, state-of-the art complex in downtown Torrington, it is celebrating its 50th year of providing professional-level ballet training, education, and performance experience for exceptional students interested in pursuing a career in dance. And today, it is recognized as a leading professional ballet training organization, producing dancers who have enjoyed outstanding careers in over 60 companies worldwide.
The newly reinvented “Nutcracker” production debuts as part of Nutmeg’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, which culminates with a weekend of festivities August 6 – 8, 2020. In honor of its landmark jubilee, the Nutmeg has installed a beautiful retrospective gallery documenting its many achievements, performances, renowned staff, costumes, and archival photographs.
The exhibit was curated by Denise Warner Limoli, Nutmeg’s senior ballet mistress, and Michael Limoli, the principal ballet accompanist. Hours for viewing the exhibit are Wednesday and Friday 11am – 2 pm and Saturday 10 am -1 pm.
Nutcracker performances are at The Warner Theatre, Torrington, on Saturday, December 7th, 2 pm and 7 pm, and Sunday, December 8th, 2 pm.
Nutcracker performances are at The Bushnell Saturday, December 14th, 12:30 pm and 4:30 pm and Sunday, December 15th, at 12:30 pm and 4:30 pm.
For more information and tickets visit www.nutmegconservatory.org/nutcracker