The Nutcracker dazzles children’s eyes, but it also confirms their deep suspicion that toys come to life, even when no one is looking or poking them repeatedly with cattle prods. Feel the season’s electricity with this GrouponLive deal to see The Nutcracker, performed by the Oregon Ballet Theatre at the Keller Auditorium. For $32, you get one G-Pass for second-balcony seating (up to a $64 value, including all fees). Choose from the following dates:
- Sunday, December 9. Choose between the 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. performances.
- Friday, December 14, at 7:30 p.m.
- Sunday, December 16. Choose between the 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. performances.
- Wednesday, December 19, at 7:30 p.m.
- Thursday, December 20, at 7:30 p.m.
- Friday, December 21, at 7:30 p.m.
- Sunday, December 23, at 2 p.m.
Doors open one hour before showtime. Because the ticket is a G-Pass, Groupon customers can use it to enter the venue directly; they will not need to redeem their Groupon at will call.
Based on a novel by the 19th-century romantic fabulist E.T.A. Hoffmann, The Nutcracker weaves a magical tale of holiday adventure. Clara, the story's heroine, receives a nutcracker from her godfather, a wizardly toymaker named Drosselmeyer. Sneaking downstairs to see the toy after everyone else has gone to bed, Clara suddenly finds herself caught in the middle of a pitched battle between the toys and an army of mice. After saving the nutcracker with a well-thrown shoe to the Mouse King's head, Clara and her now-living prince venture into the Land of Snow and the Land of Sweets to celebrate amid the dances of nimble snowflakes, the regal Sugar Plum Fairy, and seasonally confused vampires.
The Oregon Ballet Theatre has cast about 100 students from its school, who dance in lavish costumes on polished sets that shift from the realistic family home of Clara and her brother to a succession of fantasy realms. Their characters range from the delicate to the dramatic, from the tiniest ballerinas gliding in golden angel wings and robes to the fuzzy but slightly menacing giant mice. San Francisco Ballet School alum Julia Rowe steps into the show’s most glamorous role as the Sugar Plum Fairy.
Tchaikovsky’s score features some of the most recognizable tunes in the repertoire, repurposed beyond the ballet world in works including Disney's Fantasia, which naturally chose to illustrate the music’s delicate beauty with dancing mushrooms and leaping radishes. Notable sections include the “Waltz of the Snowflakes,” which floats weightlessly above the angelic voices of a youth choir, and the second act's medley of exotic national dances, including a Spanish bolero and Russian Trepak. The music-box-like theme of the “Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy” springs from a celesta, a new instrument Tchaikovsky came across in Paris and hurriedly inserted into the score before his musical rivals could make use of its haunting, bell-like sound. Six of the Oregon Ballet Theatre’s performances will bring the score vividly to life via a full orchestra.
Initially unpopular when it premiered in Russia, The Nutcracker languished for decades with a reputation as one of Tchaikovsky's lesser works. Then, in the 1950s, the ballet’s status as a fixture of the holiday season began to grow as suddenly as Clara’s magic Christmas tree when renowned American choreographer George Balanchine staged it for the New York Ballet. Balanchine's elegant staging remains the most popular, alternating between breathtaking displays of balletic mastery by soloists and duos, and large-scale set pieces that fill the stage with luminous costumes.
Due to security restrictions, G-Passes must be printed out and presented in person at the event. They cannot be redeemed through Groupon's mobile app.
Oregon Ballet Theatre
Since debuting in 1989, the Oregon Ballet Theatre has built its reputation on two seemingly opposed elements: strict balletic classicism and newly commissioned works. Now the theatre enters a new era under artistic director Kevin Irving, whose background spans both classical and contemporary performances. As a dancer, Irving appeared with scores of companies, including the Alvin Ailey Training Ensemble and Elisa Monte Dance Company. In 1994, he retired from the stage to take a position as ballet master and head of the artistic department with Nacho Duato’s Compañia Nacional de Danza in Spain. Irving looks to take the Oregon Ballet Theatre to new heights, riffing off rave reviews from the Oregonian's Bob Hicks, who wrote that the theatre's Swan Lake is “a work of sumptuous geometric balances that echo the story's mirror-image theme.”
Oregon Ballet Theatre
222 SW Clay St.
Portland, Oregon 97201