Pacific Symphony Presents NUTCRACKER FOR KIDS Concert Today





Pacific Symphony mesmerizes audiences of all ages with the magic, wonder and imagination of Tchaikovsky's treasured ballet during the anticipated holiday concert, "Nutcracker for Kids," part of Family Musical Mornings presented by Farmers and Merchants Bank.



Led for the first time by Assistant Conductor Alejandro Gutiérrez, the Symphony teams up with the dazzling dancers of Festival Ballet Theatre to bring the story of Clara and her brave prince to life! Tchaikovsky's beautiful melodies soar and the colorful dancers enchant throughout the epic battle with the Mouse King, the Land of Sweets, Waltz of the Flowers and the captivating Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Especially suited for children ages 5-11, but just as enjoyable for parents and grandparents alike, this 45-minute version is narrated by Bree Burgess of No Square Theatre in Laguna Beach. The festive tradition also includes a holiday sing-along of "Jingle Bells," "The Dreidel Song" and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." And a special guest is set to arrive sporting his famous red suit and fluffy white beard to spread the holiday cheer-Santa Claus!



This spectacular fairy tale takes place today, Dec. 14 at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, where children are also invited to participate in a merry Musical Carnival at 9 a.m. (for the 10 a.m. concert) and 12:15 p.m. (for the 11:30 a.m. concert). Tickets are $29-$49; for more information, call (714) 755-5799 or visit www.PacificSymphony.org.



"The music of the Nutcracker itself is so beautiful and full of fantasy that it has captivated audiences for more than 100 years," says Maestro Gutiérrez. "It is always wonderful to listen to the celesta, an instrument Tchaikovsky discovered in Paris a few years before he composed this music, also the delightful harp solos, the sweetness of the woodwinds, the tenderness and virtuosity of the strings, the subtlety of the percussion instruments and the brightness and power of the brass instruments. I always look forward to seeing families and friends gathered to enjoy the music and fun."



Tchaikovsky's well-known ballet was adapted from E.T.A. Hoffmann's story "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King" and has become an annual holiday tradition throughout America. Written in 1816, the beloved tale centers around a young girl named Clara. At her family's Christmas Eve party, her mysterious Godfather, a toymaker, arrives and gives her a special doll, the Nutcracker, which makes all the other children green with envy. As the story unfolds, Clara finds herself in an unfamiliar world caught between fighting opponents. It's the toy soldiers and their brave leader the Nutcracker versus the despicable Mouse King and his army of followers. Good trumps evil as the Nutcracker saves Clara from the grasps of the Mouse King, and Clara is stunned as the Nutcracker transforms into a prince!



Together they visit the Land of Sweets and are spellbound by dances of Spain (chocolate), Russia (cinnamon), China (tea), and lastly, Dance of the Mirlitons (also called Dance of the Reed Flutes). There, Clara and the prince are greeted by the beautiful Sugar Plum Fairy and are led into a romantic "pas de deux," dance for two, to conclude the grand festivities.



"I think what I'm looking forward to the most is the chance to stimulate the imagination of the children with this fantastic ballet," says Gutiérrez, "but then again, 'The Nutcracker' will stimulate the imagination of everyone in the audience-children and adults, and even those of us performing onstage. I'm sure this production is a good excuse for many daddies and mommies, grandpas and grandmas, uncles and aunts, older siblings and friends to invite their young relatives to enjoy this fantastic ballet along with themselves."



Through the grace and elegance of dance, children are transported into a world of movement andart as they watch the skill and poise of professional ballet dancers. Founded by Salwa Rizkalla in 1988 and named Outstanding Arts Organization of the Year in 2001 by Arts Orange County, Festival Ballet Theatre (FBT) has become one of Southern California's most vibrant and accomplished regional ballet companies. Celebrating more than 20 years of artistic service to Orange County, FBT is dedicated to presenting works that epitomize the artistry of professional ballet by offering cultural awareness of dance through educational programs and nurturing a creative environment for some of our county's most talented dancerS. Boasting a roster of impressive talent, the company's productions also feature internationally acclaimed guest artists from American Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Kirov Ballet, New York City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and Scottish Ballet.




More On: Santa Claus, Henry Segerstrom, S. Boas, American Ballet Theatre.

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