“The Waltz of the Flowers” in Mikko Nissinen’s “The Nutcracker.”/PHOTO: BROOKE TRISOLINI/COURTESY OF BOSTON BALLET

Boston Ballet’s ‘The Nutcracker’ never grows old

SHARE THIS STORY

HELP SUPPORT JEWISH JOURNAL

Boston Ballet’s ‘The Nutcracker’ never grows old

“The Waltz of the Flowers” in Mikko Nissinen’s “The Nutcracker.”/PHOTO: BROOKE TRISOLINI/COURTESY OF BOSTON BALLET

For Craig Margolis, Hanukkah backstage at the Boston Ballet and its production of “The Nutcracker” was “a happy place.” The veteran Jewish stage manager spoke to the Journal recently during the company’s 60th anniversary season. Margolis detailed his own celebration and office commemoration of Hanukkah as well as the satisfaction of his involvement in the annual winter tradition.

“It’s a lot of joy,” he explained. “The whole office is decorated [with Happy Hanukkah streamers]. We have an electrical menorah and a spinning cardboard.” At home, he added, “I have friends coming over for latkes and sour cream.

“I have a family menorah – probably 70 or 80 years old – shaped like a fish,” said Margolis, alluding to his grandparents.

He also mentioned a Jewish featured dancer in “The Nutcracker” – Abigail Merlis, who is portraying Grandmother in the “Party Scene” (where her spirited character dances in a lively manner with Grandfather) and as one of the Lead Flowers (with Nina Matiashvili) in the vivid “Waltz of the Flowers.”

Margolis experiences great joy from his work as well. “What I’m doing is having great impact. There are 80 kids in each cast and 210 total kids [in the three alternating casts]. It takes a village.” At the same time, the audiences provide ongoing satisfaction. “We get 2,500 people a night,” he noted. “It’s so satisfying seeing the wonder of the children.”

After experiencing Boston Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” all the way back to the 1980s, this critic continues to experience that wonder. Artistic director Mikko Nissinen’s original choreography for the Tchaikovsky classic remains as inspired and magical as ever. In the busy act one “Party Scene” – hosted by Herr and Frau Silberhaus – magician Drosselmeier entertains the children and eventually gives the title gift to Clara. A kind of mentor-godfather, Drosselmeier watches over Clara during her dream in which a battle scene provides an amusing fight between mice and the Nutcracker Prince.

The exquisite “Snow Scene” that follows closes with the Prince and Clara riding in a cloud swing to the second act “Kingdom of the Sweets.” Sophie Hatton was an appealing Clara (casts alternate during the run), and Luke Hansen had the right contrasting discontent as her sometimes mischievous brother Fritz. Patrick Yocum moved with stylish attentiveness as Drosselmeier. Lasha Khozashvili danced with expressive nobility as the prince.

Khozashavili also strongly partnered Viktorina Kapitonova, who is very regal as the Sugar Plum Fairy. He displayed impressively wide turns during a solo sequence, while Kapitonova danced the Sugar Plum’s own solo with beautiful pirouettes. Their grand pas de deux combined stunning technique and remarkable grace. Lia Cirio danced Dew Drop with precision and poetry in “Waltz of the Flowers.” Θ

“The Nutcracker” runs through Dec. 31 at Citizens Bank Opera House in Boston. For tickets, visit bostonballet.org or call 617-695-6955.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Jewish Journal is reader supported

Jewish Journal is reader supported