Thursday, December 15, 2011

Nuts about THE NUTCRACKER but can't get tix? (Or they're too expensive.) Consider these alternatives from BALLET IN CINEMA

Can't get (or afford) tickets for this holiday season to either the New York City Ballet's Lincoln Center Nutcracker nor the American Ballet Theater's Nutcracker at BAM? BAM's can cost $95 for the best orchestra seat, though you can pick up a rear balcony, side-seat for just $25.  The NYCB, however, is off the charts: $65 for the fifth ring (highest balcony) seat and $150 for an orchestra seat (not in the prime portion of the orchestra) or the entire first ring. (The best orchestra seats -- they call 'em "Sweet Seats" -- sell for $250 and come with bells and whistles attached, presumably for that 1%, rather than us 99-percenters.)

However, this Sunday, December 18, Nutcracker nuts can indulge themselves in two complete filmed versions of the famous ballet set to Tchaikovsky's music and danced by two of the world's foremost ballet companies: Russia's Bolshoi Theater and Britain's Royal Opera House.

Both performances -- via Emerging Pictures' Ballet in Cinema -- take place back-to-back at one of Manhattan's most comfortable, accessible theaters: Big Cinemas' Manhattan, 239 East 59th Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. The Bolshoi performs at 11am this Sunday, with a running time of 124 minutes, including one intermission. The Royal Opera House performs at 2pm, and runs a shorter, kid- friendlier 110 minutes, including one intermission.

Tickets for both -- including ultra-comfortable stadium seating, perfect sight lines, lots of close-ups of the performers*, and a great sound system -- cost only $20 each. This may be the bargain of the holiday season. My family is going, to the Royal Opera House production, but yours might prefer the Bolshioi.

Big Cinemas could use some help with its web site, however. When I checked there, I found that only the 11 am Bolshoi Nutcracker was listed. But when I called the theater, the box-office assured me that tickets were available as of now (Wednesday evening, December 14) for both the 11am Bolshoi and the 2pm Royal Opera House productions.

*the photo shown two paragraphs above is of Steven MacRae, left, 
and Miyako Yoshida, from the Royal Opera House production 
of the Nutcracker (photo by Johan Persson).

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