Boston Ballet: Mikko Nissenen's The Nutcracker at The Boston Opera House

November 30, 2017 | By Laura Martz

Sugar plum fairies prance across the stage, the Mouse King battles the Nutcracker Prince to the death, and Snowflakes flutter through the falling snow; “The Nutcracker” has returned to Boston. 


A timeless holiday tradition, Mikko Nissenen’s “The Nutcracker” is back at the Boston Ballet for the sixth consecutive year since Nissenen’s interpretation’s world premiere at The Boston Opera House in 2012.


Photo Courtesy of Liza Voll Photography

The ballet originally premiered in 1892 in St. Petersburg, Russia, but it is Nissenen’s breathtaking adaptation that has stolen the hearts of so many Boston Christmas lovers.  


Audience members young and old eagerly swarmed the theater to experience a performance that the Boston Ballet described in an online statement as one that “captures your imagination and transport you to a magical world of brave toy soldiers and dancing snowflakes.” 


The performance follows Clara, played by dancer Elise Beauchemin, as she embarks on an enchanting journey one can only dream of. Her journey begins on Christmas Eve at a celebration during which Clara receives her uncle’s favorite creation, the Nutcracker. After falling asleep on the sofa, with the Nutcracker at her side, Clara wakes to her living room filled with life-sized mice. After meeting her Nutcracker Prince, Clara follows him through the Magical Forest to his kingdom, meeting various characters along the way. Her journey concludes after she wakes up, dazed and confused, in her living room, wondering if the events of her night were truly just a dream.  


The opening scene of the first act featured solos by Patric Palkens, as the Harlequin Doll, Hannah Bettes, as the Ballerina Doll and Lawrence Rines as the Bear, a crowd favorite because of his oversized bear head costume and quirky dancing.


As the music intensified, the audience was captivated by the suspense between the Mouse King and the Nutcracker Prince, performed respectively by Matthew Slattery and Paulo Arrais, as they battled, the scene ending with the Prince’s victory.  


To conclude the first act, the audience was transported into a winter wonderland as snowflakes flittered around the beautiful solos of the Snow Queen and King, played by Anais Chalendard and John Lam. 


As the second act commenced, Clara experienced the magic of the Nutcracker Prince’s Kingdom with solos by dancers illuminating the beauty of “Spanish,” “Arabian,” “Chinese,” “Pastorale,” “Mother Ginger” and “Russian” dances.


In the “Waltz of the Flowers,” Seo Hye Han entranced the audience as Dew Drop, accompanied by dancers Lauren Herfindahl and Addie Tapp as the Lead Flowers. 


As the performance came to an end in the final scene, the audience witnessed Clara’s return from her magical adventure, but not before Misa Kuranaga and Paulo Arrais captivated the audience with their solos as the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Nutcracker Prince. 


After a two-hour excursion into a magical world where dreams do come true, the audience left hypnotized by the beauty of the cast’s performance and with hearts bursting with Christmas spirit. Both young and old loved the show, such as a grandfather who hummed along with the orchestra to his granddaughter seated next to him.


“The Nutcracker” will run at The Boston Opera House until the end of December. Nissinen’s astonishing production is one that everyone should experience at least once in their life.