DECEMBER 7–26, 2019
The Keller Auditorium
222 SW Clay Street
Portland, OR 97201
OBT’s season would not be complete without Portland’s Favorite Holiday Tradition, the 17th annual production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker ®. Filled with swirling snowflakes, glorious scenery, and lavish costumes, this production gets better and better with each passing year. Join Marie, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and the Prince on their adventure through the Land of Sweets – all set to Tchaikovsky’s joyous score! Immerse yourself in this magical journey for children of all ages.
Choreography by George Balanchine | Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
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
OBT offers audio-described performances for patrons with blindness or low vision, or anyone interested in listening to a live narration of select performances.
Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs) will be available for patron use during two performances of December’s run of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®. Patrons wanting to experience the performance through verbal description of the action on stage, including choreography, story line, scenery and costumes, will be able to pick up a hand-held device on a first-come, first-served basis from the coat check area before the Dec. 14, 7:30 p.m. performance and the Dec. 15, 2:00 p.m. performance. Neck loops for use with hearing aids and cochlear implants with a “T” switch (telecoil) are also available. Please bring ID when checking out a hearing device. Supplies are limited.