Flagstaff’s holiday season officially arrives when the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra presents three performances of the Nutcracker, the beloved ballet by Tchaikovsky. Friday and Saturday evening concerts, Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, begin at 7:30 pm at Ardrey Memorial Auditorium on the campus of Northern Arizona University. A special version for young children, the Lollipop Concert, is presented at Ardrey Saturday, Dec. 1, from 2-3 pm. Music Director Charles Latshaw will conduct all three performances.
Richly costumed dancers of NAU Community Music and Dance Academy Ballet Troupe, directed by Andrew Needhammer, will perform the enchanting Christmas Eve story. Adding their voices will be The Flagstaff Youth Chorale, led by Steven Schaefer. This marvelous FSO annual production, which has become a holiday tradition for Northern Arizona, enchants young and old alike.
By combining well-beloved orchestral music with the visual spectacle of dance and theater, The Nutcracker is a proven holiday hit that families return to year after year. Even if one has never seen the ballet, everyone surely is familiar with its music, which is inescapable every December. The Waltz of the Flowers and the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy are immediately recognizable tunes that are broadcast in countless genres, from pop to progressive metal to Klezmer jazz. Among the varied artists who have performed and recorded their own arrangements are Fred Waring, Duke Ellington and Spike Jones.
The Nutcracker was first produced in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1892, and slowly began to win the hearts of its audiences. Today it is performed annually in every region of the United States, as young dancers everywhere aspire to the roles of Clara and the Sugar Plum Fairy.
The concert sponsors for The Nutcracker Ballet are Arizona Public Service and Northern Arizona Healthcare. The Saturday Lollipop Concert is sponsored by the Flagstaff Symphony Guild.