Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker, with its dancing Sugar Plum Fairy, waltzing flowers and toy soldiers, has long been a beloved holiday tradition.
This season, Baltimoreans can see Russian dancers perform the ballet, composed by Tchaikovsky for the Alexandre Dumas adaptation of the E.T.A. Hoffman short story. The Lyric Opera House is offering four performances of The Great Russian Nutcracker by the Moscow Ballet.
"It features an all-star Russian cast, including two stars from the Kirov Ballet, the No. 1 ballet company in the world," says Akiva Talmi, the show's producer. "And the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, 40 men, playing The Nutcracker as only the Russians can."
Directed by Anatoli Emelianov, The Great Russian Nutcracker offers a message of peace in its second act, which Emelianov sets in the Land of Peace and Harmony.
"The decor consists of 12 different hand-painted backdrops, and 14- to 30-foot puppets depicting mythological characters," says Talmi.
Below is a roundup of some of the area productions of the Tchaikovsky holiday favorite.
BALLET THEATRE OF MARYLAND --Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, 801 Chase St., Annapolis / Performances are at 7 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $40 for adults, $22 for students, $17 for children and $32 for seniors, available by calling 410-263-5544 or going to tickets.marylandhall.org.
BALTIMORE DANCETECH AND THE STEPHANIE POWELL DANCE ENSEMBLE --James Weldon Johnson Theatre at Coppin State University, 2500 W. North Ave. / Performances of The City Nutcracker are at 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $10 and are available at the venue today and tomorrow from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. or on the day of the show.
HARFORD BALLET COMPANY --Aberdeen High School, 251 Paradise Road, Aberdeen / Performances are at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $14 online at harfordballetcompany.org or $16 at the door.
HOWARD COUNTY BALLET --Jim Rouse Theater at Wilde Lake High School, 5460 Trumpeter Road, Columbia / Performances are at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $22 for adults and $15 for students, seniors and children, available by calling 410-465-9414 or going to howardcountyballet.org.
MOSCOW BALLET --The Lyric Opera House, 140 W. Mount Royal Ave. / Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 21 and Dec. 22, and 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 23. Tickets are $25-$63, available by calling 410-547- SEAT or by going to nutcracker.com.
PITTSBURGH BALLET THEATRE --The Hippodrome Theatre at France-Merrick Performing Arts Center, 12 N. Eutaw St. / Performances are 7:30 p.m. Dec. 28 and 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 29 and 30. Tickets are $29-$79 and are available through the Hippodrome Theatre Box Office (10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday), by calling 410- 547-SEAT or by going to ticketmaster.com.
WASHINGTON BALLET --Warner Theatre, 13th Street Northwest between E and F streets / Performances are at 7 p.m. today and tomorrow, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Sunday and continue through Dec. 23. Tickets are $29-$85, available by calling 410-457-SEAT or going to warnertheatre.com or ticketmaster. com.