Rochester City Ballet celebrates 30th Nutcracker anniversary
220 area children perform in city’s longest-running holiday tradition
Rochester, NY – The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) kicks off Rochester’s holiday season with The Nutcracker, led by Principal Conductor for Education and Engagement Michael Butterman (The Louise and Henry Epstein Family Chair) and featuring Rochester City Ballet (David Palmer, artistic director) and the Bach Children’s Chorus (Karla Krogstad, director). The six-performance run of this timeless tale of a young girl’s Christmas Eve dream opens on Wednesday, November 22 at 7 p.m. and continues on Friday, November 24 at 2 & 7 p.m.; Saturday, November 25 at 2 & 7 p.m.; and Sunday, November 26 at 2 p.m. in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre.
“It’s always a privilege to present this great score,” says Maestro Butterman, who has conducted Tchaikovsky’s ballet well over a hundred times. “I think it’s exciting to know that every year, many folks have their first RPO experience with this wonderful music.”
“It’s an extra-special year for us, and we invite everyone to come celebrate our 30th anniversary of this beautiful production,” adds Rochester City Ballet (RCB) Artistic Director David Palmer. “Partnering with the world-class RPO for 18 years now makes this truly Rochester’s Nutcracker.”
For the first time, the production will feature only RCB company members, instead of out-of-town guest artists in some lead roles. For example, Irondequoit native Megan Kamler will dance the Sugar Plum Fairy with Avon’s Chris Collins as her Cavalier. They are the first Rochester-trained couple – from RCB’s partner school, Timothy M. Draper Center for Dance Education – to perform these roles.
“The role of the Sugar Plum Fairy is every little girl’s dream growing up, mine included,” says Kamler. “I remember being backstage in my Arch Angel or Chinese Corps costume, craning my neck just to catch a glimpse of whoever our lead couple was that year. To be able to share this milestone role with Chris, who also grew up doing our Nutcracker as a Draper student, was the best part about receiving this opportunity.”
“Dancing the role of Cavalier with my Sugar Plum, Megan, I think back to when I was 10, waiting for my turn to march onstage as a Page,” Collins reminisces. “Megan and I grew up together and went through similar hardships and dilemmas, so it’s easier for me to connect with her on an emotional level. All in all, I really feel I’m fulfilling my 10-year-old dream – from leading Pages onto the stage, to leading the school and company through the last steps of The Nutcracker finale.”
Also enjoying the special experience will be the 220 children from all over the greater Rochester area, who will perform with the RCB and Bach Children’s Chorus (BCC) in Rochester’s longest-running holiday tradition.
“This experience gives many students their first chance to be a part of a production with a professional ballet company and orchestra, as well as to perform in the beautiful and historic Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre” explains Bach Children’s Chorus Director Karla Krogstad, who will lead 50 children from both the BCC and the Mozart Children’s Chorus in this year’s Nutcracker.
In addition, 120 dance students from as far away as Angola, Hamlin, and Livonia will continue RCB’s Nutcracker tradition as Angels, Pages, Sprites, and Gingerbabies.
“I remember going to The Nutcracker with my family every year,” says RCB Executive Director Nichole Gantshar. “My friends and I reminisce about it whenever we hear the music. It’s such a thrill and honor for Chris, Megan, and the other dancers to be able to provide the same wonderful memories to a new generation.”
TICKETS start at $24/$15 for children ages 12 and under. They may be purchased in person at the Eastman Theatre Box Office (433 East Main Street) and at all Wegmans That’s T.H.E. Ticket! locations, by phone at (585) 454-2100, or online at rpo.org.
The Nutcracker is sponsored in part by Caldwell Manufacturing. The RPO’s 2017/18 Season is presented by Rochester Regional Health and the Dawn and Jacques Lipson Cancer Institute. The Philharmonics Series is sponsored by M&T Bank; the RPO Pops Series is sponsored by Canandaigua National Bank & Trust and Wegmans. RPO performances are also made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Additional support is provided by Monroe County; the City of Rochester; the Alfred Davis and Brunhilde Knapp Artists Performance Fund; the Mozart Performance Fund: Sarah D. Atkinson, M.D. and Steven Hess; and the Katherine T. and Jon L. Schumacher Orchestra Musician Soloist Fund.
The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) has been committed to enriching and inspiring our community through the art of music since its founding in 1922. The RPO presents approximately 150 concerts and broadcasts a year, serving up to 170,000 people through ticketed events, education and community engagement activities, and concerts in schools and community centers throughout the region. 12th Music Director Ward Stare joins the ranks of former notable RPO music directors, including Eugene Goossens, José Iturbi, Erich Leinsdorf, David Zinman and Conductor Laureate Christopher Seaman. Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik has earned a national reputation for excellence in pops programming during his 23-year tenure with the RPO. With Michael Butterman as Principal Conductor for Education and Community Engagement (The Louise and Henry Epstein Family Chair) – the first endowed position of its kind in the country – the RPO reaches more than 16,000 children through its specific programs for school-aged children.
David Palmer leads Rochester City Ballet (RCB) as its Artistic Director. Established in 1987 by its founding artistic director, Timothy M. Draper, the company presents a broad range of classical and contemporary work at the Nazareth College Arts Center and Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. RCB, and its resident company of 21 professional dancers, is committed to enriching the quality of life in the greater Rochester community. It presents an annual subscription series of three shows plus The Nutcracker as well as independent performances with the RPO, at galas, and at venues throughout Upstate New York.
Media please note: High-resolution images for The Nutcracker are available at http://ow.ly/m3P3308INu4, and interviews as well as photo and footage opportunities can be arranged.