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 presented by California Ballet at San Diego Civic Theatre. Choose between the following seating options:
- For $12, you get one G-Pass for upper-balcony seating (a $25 value).
- For $25, you get one G-Pass for dress-circle or mezzanine seating (a $50 value).<p>
Both seating options are available for the following showtimes:
- Saturday, December 15, at 7 p.m.
- Sunday, December 16, at 5:30 p.m.
- Wednesday, December 19, at 7 p.m.
- Thursday, December 20, at 7 p.m.
- Friday, December 21, at 7 p.m.
- Saturday, December 22, at 2:30 p.m.
- Saturday, December 22, at 7 p.m.
- Sunday, December 23, at 1 p.m.
- Sunday, December 23, at 5:30 p.m.<p>
Only upper-balcony seating is available for the following showtimes:
- Saturday, December 15, at 2:30 p.m.
- Sunday, December 16, at 1 p.m.<p>
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. All seats involve the use of stairs. For handicapped or access seating, call California Ballet at (858) 560-6741.<p>
Based on a novel by the 19th-century romantic fabulist E.T.A. Hoffman, 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.
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.
California Ballet’s dancers will traipse through The Nutcracker with the help of two orchestras. On December 15 and 16, musicians from Orchestra Nova perform Tchaikovsky’s score, with the San Diego Symphony taking over December 19–23. California Ballet’s music director, John Stubbs, conducts all of the performances with the precise sweeps of his baton.
After the Show
The California Ballet cast invites the audience to its Sugar Plum Parties, which take place after every matinee performance (1 p.m., 2:30 p.m., and 5:30 p.m.) in the San Diego Civic Theatre’s grand salon. There, kids can talk to their favorite dancers and avoid their least-favorite man in a rodent mask.
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.
Even when a ballet imposes technical challenges and its reputation raises expectations to near-impossible levels, California Ballet's dancers and artists don't shy away. Much of the company's repertoire reads like a 19th-century Top-10 list—Midsummer Night's Dream, Coppelia, Swan Lake—yet it makes each staging uniquely its own, either by revamping the choreography, casting The Nutcracker with upwards of 200 students from its dance school, or creating sets and costumes that would dazzle an "Ooooh" out of a royal guardsman.