From November 28 – December 28, 2014, Houston Ballet celebrates the holidays with Ben Stevenson’s breathtaking production of The Nutcracker, seen by over 1,000,000 people since its premiere 27 years ago

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HOUSTON BALLET’S THE NUTCRACKER
KICKS OFF THE HOLIDAY SEASON IN NOVEMBER 2014

 

Houston Ballet Participates in Dancer Exchange With

The Australian Ballet This Holiday Season

 

First Soloists Yuriko Kajiya and Jared Matthews Give Their First Appearance

as the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Prince in Houston 

 

Corps de Ballet member Madeline Skelly Debuts as the Snow Queen

 

Company Performs Beloved Holiday Production,

Seen by Over One Million People Since Its Premiere in 1987

 

 

Feel free to add The Nutcracker dates to your event calendars.

November 28 – December 28, 2014

 

At 7:30 p.m. November 28*, 29*, 30*

and December 6,7*, 12*, 13, 14, 16*, 17*, 18*, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, 28*

 

At 2:00 p.m. on November 29, 30

and December 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 28

* Indicates discounted performance.

 

For more information on The Nutcracker visit: http://www.houstonballet.org/TheNutcracker/

 

Watch a video of The Nutcracker—

http://youtu.be/d669_VxP8p4

 

Check out our Houston Ballet blog! We update daily with fun stories and behind the scenes action. Subscribe to us and learn more about Houston Ballet!  En Pointe with Houston Ballet

 

www.houstonballet.org

 

HOUSTON BALLET’S THE NUTCRACKER
KICKS OFF THE HOLIDAY SEASON IN NOVEMBER 2014

 

Houston Ballet Participates in Dancer Exchange With

The Australian Ballet This Holiday Season

 

First Soloists Yuriko Kajiya and Jared Matthews Give Their First Appearance

as the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Prince in Houston 

 

Corps de Ballet member Madeline Skelly Debuts as the Snow Queen

 

Company Performs Beloved Holiday Production,

Seen by Over One Million People Since Its Premiere in 1987

 

 

HOUSTON, TEXAS – From November 28 – December 28, 2014, Houston Ballet celebrates the holidays with Ben Stevenson’s breathtaking production of The Nutcracker, seen by over 1,000,000 people since its premiere 27 years ago.  The beloved ballet tells the story of a little girl named Clara who is given a magical nutcracker doll on Christmas Eve.  She encounters the frightful King Rat before embarking on a wondrous journey through the Land of Snow and the Kingdom of Sweets. Young and old alike will experience the many special effects, including the Christmas tree which “grows” to 40 feet, 200 pounds of “snow” falling during the snow scene, and the firing of cannon onstage.  Houston Ballet will give 35 performances of The Nutcracker, to a live orchestra, in the Brown Theater at Wortham Theater Center in downtown Houston.  Tickets may be purchased by calling 713-227-2787 or logging on to www.houstonballet.org.

 

Houston Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker has been hailed by the Houston Chronicle as “the crown jewel of holiday entertainment.” Lee Williams of the Houston Press called Houston Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker, “ Gorgeous . . . Desmond Heeley’s sets and costumes are reason enough to see this show . . . The Nutcracker reminds us that the holidays have always been a time of dreams, and with productions as yummy as this, sleeping never seemed so sweet.”

 

For over one hundred years, the story of the ballet has proven irresistible to both children and adults alike. Set in nineteenth-century Germany, the ballet opens at a Christmas party at which the mysterious Dr. Drosselmeyer gives his little niece Clara a magical toy that takes her on an unforgettable journey.  From the battle scene between the Rat King and the Nutcracker in the first act to the cooks who fly magically through the air in the second act, The Nutcracker is sure to enchant audiences of all ages.

 

Tickets are available at a discount for select performances of The Nutcracker, including evening performances on opening night Friday, November 28; Saturday, November 29; Sunday, November 30; Sunday, December 7; Friday, December 12; Tuesday, December 16; Wednesday, December 17; Thursday, December 18; and Sunday, December 28.

 

Houston Ballet Participates in a Dancer Exchange With

The Australian Ballet This Holiday Season

 

This season Houston Ballet participates in a dancer exchange with The Australian Ballet. Houston Ballet Principal Dancers Karina Gonzalez and Connor Walsh will travel to Sydney to perform in Stanton Welch’s La Bayadère on Monday, November 17 and Friday, November 21. In exchange, The Australian Ballet Principal Artists Leanne Stojmenov and Daniel Gaudiello will travel to Houston to give three special performances as the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Prince in The Nutcracker. They will perform on Sunday, December 7 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, December 12 at 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, December 14 at 7:30 p.m.

 

Critics have praised the chemistry and ease displayed between Ms. Stojmenov and Mr. Gaudiello in performances. Writing for the Sydney Morning Herald, dance critic Jill Sykes commented, [Leanne Stojmenov and Daniel Gaudiello] demonstrate their lyrical and technical skills with some demanding and effective partnering.” (December 2, 2013). Rain Williams of Dance Informa called their dancing “marvelous.” (September 2, 2013).

 

A native of Perth, Australia, Ms. Stojmenov trained full-time at the Graduate College before joining the West Australian Ballet. In 2001, she joined The Australian Ballet and in 2004 she was the recipient of the New South Wales Friends of The Australian Ballet scholarship which enabled her to study throughout Europe. She later achieved the rank of principal artists at The Australian Ballet in 2011.

 

Mr. Gaudiello is a native of Brisbane, Australia and began dancing at the age of six. Later, he attended the Queensland Dance School of Excellence and Queensland Ballet professional year, before joining The Australian Ballet School. While there, he participated as an exchange student with The National Ballet School of Canada and the School of American Ballet. In 2004, Mr. Gaudiello joined The Australian Ballet, where he was promoted to principal artist in 2010.

 

First soloists Yuriko Kajiya and Jared Matthews will give their first performances as the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Prince in Ben Stevenson’s staging of The Nutcracker.  (They previously danced the lead roles in Alexei Ratmansky’s version of The Nutcracker at American Ballet Theater.) Corps de Ballet member Madeline Skelly will debut as the Snow Queen.

 

The role of the Sugar Plum Fairy will also be danced by principals Karina Gonzalez, Melody Mennite, Sara Webb; first soloist Katharine Precourt; and soloists Soo Youn Cho, Nozomi Iijima, Nao Kusuzaki, Allison Miller, and Lauren Strongin. Ms. Kajiya, Ms. Precourt, Ms. Cho, Ms. Iijima, Ms. Kusuzaki, Ms. Miller, and Ms. Strongin, will also dance the Snow Queen role in addition to first soloist Jessica Collado. The Prince will also be danced by principals Simon Ball, Ian Casady, and Connor Walsh; first soloist Linnar Looris; soloists James Gotesky, Oliver Halkowich, Aaron Robison, and Charles-Louis Yoshiyama; and Corps de Ballet member Aaron Sharratt.

 

The Houston Girls Chorus (HGC), a program of American Festival for the Arts, will join Houston Ballet Orchestra as part of Houston Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker for 21 performances at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, November 28; Saturday, November 29; Saturday, December 6; Friday, December 12; Saturday, December 13; Friday, December 19; Saturday, December 20; Monday, December 22; Tuesday, December 23; Friday, December 26; Saturday, December 27; Sunday, December 28 and at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 29; Sunday, November 30; Saturday, December 6; Sunday, December 7; Saturday, December 13; Sunday; December 14; Saturday, December 20; Sunday, December 21; and Sunday, December 28. HGC will sing Waltz of the Snowflakes, the chorus part Tchaikovsky wrote for the iconic snow scene in the ballet.

 

The Nutcracker has a special place in Houston Ballet’s history as the first full-length work to enter Houston Ballet’s repertoire in a staging by Frederic Franklin, featuring scenery and costumes by the English designer Peter Farmer.  The company gave six performances of The Nutcracker in 1972 at Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, and has danced the work each December without fail for the following 42 years.  In 1976, Houston Ballet presented the production with revised choreography by the company’s new artistic director Ben Stevenson. In 1987, the current production with designs by Desmond Heeley, lighting by Duane Schuler, and choreography by Mr. Stevenson was unveiled to a glowing critical response.

 

Today, the company gives 35 performances of  The Nutcracker at Wortham Theater Center, and the production plays a key role in Houston Ballet’s financial picture, drawing 69,776 (as of December 2013) theatergoers to Houston’s Theater District and bringing in over $4 million in revenue in 2013.

 

Houston Ballet’s performances of The Nutcracker are generously underwritten by United, Apache Corporation, Houston Methodist, Shell Oil Company, Baker Botts L.L.P, and Macy’s.

 

 

The Story of The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker tells the story of Clara and her magical nutcracker doll.  One Christmas Eve, the mysterious Dr. Drosselmeyer arrives at the Stahlbaum family’s Christmas party and presents Clara with a special gift: a wooden nutcracker.  After the party, as the clock strikes midnight, Clara awakens to find the room filled with giant mice.  The nutcracker comes to her rescue and a fierce battle ensues as the nutcracker leads the toy soldiers against the mice and their leader, King Rat.  The nutcracker overcomes King Rat, and then is transformed into a handsome prince who takes Clara on a magical journey.

 

To the delight of Clara and the audience, the evening is filled with dance.  The Snow Queen leads eighteen snowflakes in a brilliant waltz in the Land of Snow, where the trees are laden with icicles.  Then the Nutcracker Prince takes Clara on a boat ride across the Lemonade Sea to the Kingdom of Sweets where they are greeted by the Sugar Plum Fairy.  The Sugar Plum Fairy treats Clara to sweets and entertainment provided by the inhabitants of the kingdom: chocolate, a Spanish dance; coffee, an Arabian dance; and tea, a Chinese dance.  Next comes the comical Madame Bonbonaire whose huge skirt is filled with tiny clowns.  Then there is the Russian dance and the Waltz of the Flowers.   Finally, the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Nutcracker Prince dance a grand pas de deux.  As the celebration draws to a close, Clara becomes sleepy.  She awakens back in her bed, as the nutcracker salutes his little princess Clara.

 

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HOUSTON BALLET’S

THE NUTCRACKER
FACT SHEET

 

WHAT:          THE NUTCRACKER (1987)

Music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)

Choreography by Ben Stevenson, O.B.E.

Scenic and Costume Designs by Desmond Heeley

Original Lighting Design by Duane Schuler

Recreated Lighting Design by Christina R. Giannelli

 

Houston Ballet Orchestra Conducted by Ermanno Florio, Craig Kier, Ned Battista, David LaMarche

 

Houston Girls Chorus directed by Kimberly Tobola,

A program of American Festival of the Arts, Michael Remson, Executive Director

 

Generously underwritten by: United, Apache Corporation, Houston Methodist, Shell Oil Company, Baker Botts L.L.P, and Macy’s.

 

 

ABOUT THE

PROGRAM:

A little girl named Clara receives a magical nutcracker on Christmas Eve, and sets out on a wondrous journey to the Land of Snow and the Kingdom of Sweets.  Featuring breathtaking scenery and costumes by Tony Award-winning designer Desmond Heeley, The Nutcracker is the perfect yuletide gift: the ideal means of introducing children to the power and beauty of classical dance, and a delightful way for the entire family to ring in the holiday season.

 

WHEN:          November 28 – December 28, 2014

 

At 7:30 p.m. November 28*, 29*, 30*

and December 6,7*, 12*, 13, 14, 16*, 17*, 18*, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, 28*

 

At 2:00 p.m. on November 29, 30

and December 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 28

* Indicates discounted performance.  

 

WHERE:       Brown Theater, Wortham Theater Center

501 Texas Avenue in downtown Houston

 

TICKETS:     $19 – $135.  For tickets call (713) 227 2787 or 1 800 828 ARTS.

Tickets are also available at www.houstonballet.org and Houston Ballet Box Office at Wortham Theater Center.

 

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