Nutcracker ballet performed in Ukraine | Photo by Igor Bulgarin
Nutcracker ballet performed in Ukraine | Photo by Igor Bulgarin

The Nutcracker makes its holiday rounds

by Karen Bradbury
Stripes Europe

Ah, Christmas. It’s nearly in sight. Most of the delights of the season will be there for the taking. A stroll through a Christmas market or a day out shopping doesn’t require meticulous advance planning. However, should your ideal Christmas include taking in a holiday-themed spectacle, it could be high time to get booking those tickets.

Those in need of sugar plum fairies and a mouse king to make their holiday spirits sing won’t be disappointed, as Tchaikovsky’s ballet “The Nutcracker” makes its rounds over the festive season here too. Those in Germany eager to catch a production will generally find several options. Many of these are performed by ballet companies hailing from Russia or countries of the former Soviet Union. It goes without saying, however, that not every company from that part of the world is up to the standard of the Bolshoi or Kirov!

Nutcracker ballet performed in Ukraine | Photo by Igor Bulgarin

Before shelling out top euro for tickets, you may wish to see how viewers in years past rated a particular company’s performance. To see how they fared, visit the website, one of Germany’s largest ticket sellers, and enter the name of the show you’re considering. Beneath the production’s title, you’ll see five stars and a number in parentheses. This is the rating given by attendees of past productions. By clicking on that and reading the reviews (thanks Google translate function!) You can easily see how the spectacle was received by past audiences. Shows featuring a live orchestra are usually indicated as such.

Performances of The Nutcracker reasonably close to U.S. bases over the coming holiday season include performances by the Russian Classic State Ballet in Kaiserslautern Dec. 14 and in Idar-Oberstein Dec. 14. The Classical Russian Ballet of Moscow presents their version in Neu-Isenberg Dec 19; Waiblingen Dec. 23, Karlsruhe Dec. 26; Fellbach, Dec. 28, Mainz Dec. 29; Böblingen Jan. 4 and Bruchsal Jan. 10. Catch that of the Russian Ballet Festival Moscow in Mannheim Dec. 21, Wiesbaden Dec. 22, Bamberg Dec. 25 or Weiden Dec. 29. A performance by the Bolshoi State Ballet of Belarus takes place in the Jahrhunderthalle in Frankfurt Dec. 29.

In addition to the Nutcracker, productions of Swan Lake (Schwanensee) this time of year also abound.

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