New Orleans Ballet Theatre's 2016 production of the The Nutcracker will be performed at 2PM and 7 PM on Saturday, December 17th and Sunday, December 18th at the historic Orpheum Theater, located across from The Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans, known for its Teddy Bear Tea and Holidays at the Fountain Lounge.
New Orleans Ballet Theatre presents its annual performances of The Nutcracker, a two-act ballet, originally choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov with a score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The ballet is based upon E.T.A. Hoffmann's The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, an adaptation of Alexander Dumas' 'The Nutcracker'.
The popularity of The Nutcracker has made its music one of Tchaikovsky’s most famous compositions. The music belongs to the Romantic Period and contains some of his most memorable melodies, several of which are frequently used in television and film. The Russian Dance, for example, is one of the most recognizable pieces in the ballet, along with the famous Waltz of the Flowers and March, as well as the ubiquitous Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.
Scene 1: The Stahlbaum Home
It’s Christmas Eve and Family and friends have gathered to decorate the Christmas tree. Children stand in awe of the tree and the party begins with them receiving presents. The clock strikes eight, and Drosselmeyer enters the room. A talented toymaker, he brings gifts for the children, including four lifelike dolls who delight everyone with their dancing before he puts them away.
Clara and Fritz are sad to see the dolls go, but Drosselmeyer has another toy for them: a wooden nutcracker. Clara takes a liking to the nutcracker, but Fritz purposely breaks it and Clara is heartbroken.
During the night, Clara returns to check on her broken nutcracker. The clock strikes midnight and she sees Drosselmeyer perched atop it. Mice fill the room and the Christmas tree grows tall. The nutcracker becomes life size as an army of gingerbread soldiers battle against and the mice, led by their king who begin to eat the soldiers.
The nutcracker leads the soldiers and dolls who carry off the wounded. The mouse king advances on the damaged nutcracker, but Clara distracts him, allowing the nutcracker to stab him.
Scene 2: A Pine Forest
The mice retreat. The nutcracker transforms into a prince and leads Clara into a pine forest and on to his kingdom.
Scene 1: The Land of Sweets
Clara and the prince arrive in the Land of Sweets, ruled by the Sugar Plum Fairy until the prince’s return. He tells her how Clara saved him from the mouse king and how he was transformed into his old self. A celebration of sweets is produced in Clara’s honor and they all dance, accompanied by shepherdesses and Mother Ginger with her children, the Polichinelles. Flowers waltz and the Sugar Plum Fairy and her cavalier dance.
After a final waltz, the Sugar Plum Fairy ushers Clara and the Prince from their throne. The prince bows and she kisses Clara goodbye. She leads them to a reindeer sleigh which takes off as they wave goodbye.
The Historic Orpheum Theater
The Orpheum Theatre’s spacious orchestra, loges, balcony, and gallery offer newly-installed upholstered seats and comfortable accommodation for 1460 guests. The Orpheum was designed by G. Albert Lansburgh, built in 1918, and opened in 1921. Soon after, it became a movie house.
In 1983, the Orpheum was scheduled for demolition but was acquired by the New Orleans Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, and underwent a $3 million renovation. It served as the orchestra's home theater until the orchestra's financial demise in 1991. Under new ownership, the Orpheum became the home of the newly formed Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO), whose musicians prized the auditorium for its acoustical purity.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Orpheum Theater was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina, but reopened in August 2015 with a performance by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra.