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November 23, 2012     Post-Gazette
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November 23, 2012

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POST-GAZETTE, NOVEMBER 23, 2012 .... Page 9 00ocially Scene by yngela Cornacchio These boys can sing. Come see the world renowned Vienna Boys' Choir on December 2 "d. (Photo by Boston Symphony's Fin- est Hosts The Vienna Boys' Choir .... Ron Della Chiesa, voice of the Boston Sym- phony Orchestra, will host The Vienna Boys' Choir on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 3:00 pm in Boston's Cathedral of the Holy Cross, the largest Roman Catholic Church in New England. "This is a rare opportunity to hear this highly regarded choir in a magnificent set- ting, in one of the greatest cathedrals in America and it's particularly wonderful during the holiday season," says Ron Della Chiesa. "My wife Joyce and I were mar- ried in this cathedral 26 years ago and I am also a regular lector there." The Vienna Boys' Choir gives a stunning perfor- mance but the history be- hind them is just as fasci- nating. In 1498, more than half a millennium ago, Em- peror Maximilian moved his court and musicians from Innsbruck to Vienna. He gave specific instructions that there were to be six boys among his musicians. His- torians have settled on 1498 as the official foundation date of the Vienna Hof- musikkapelle and, conse- quently, the Vienna Boys' Choir. Until 1918, the choir sang exclusively for the court, at mass, at private concerts and functions and on state occasions. Today there are around 100 choris- ters between the ages of ten and fourteen divided into four touring choirs. The four choirs give around 300 con- certs and performances each year in front of almost half a million people with each group spending nine to eleven weeks of the school year on tour. They visit vir- tually all European coun- tries and they are frequent guests in Asia, Australia and the Americas. The Vienna Boys' Choir (also The Vienna Choir Boys' or in German, Wiener Sngerknaben) is a choir of trebles and altos based in Vienna. It is one of the best-known boys' choirs in the world. The boys are selected mainly from Aus- tria but also from many other countries. The choir is a pri- vate, not-for-profit organiza- tion. The boys are divided into four touring choirs, named for Bruckner, Haydn, Mozart and Schubert, which perform about 300 concerts each year before almost 500,000 people. Each group tours for about nine to eleven weeks. In 1961, Walt Disney filmed Almost Angels, a fictional drama about (and starring) the Vienna Boys' Choir, set and filmed in the Palais Augarten. It was Disney who, for cinemato- graphic reasons, persuaded the Austrian government to allow the boys to legally wear the Austrian national em- blem on the breast of their uniform, a tradition that con- tinues to this day. The holiday season can have us rushing around but in true spirit on December 2 "d at 3:00 pm at the Boston's Cathedral of the Holy Cross, The Vienna Boys' Choir will give a performance that will have you at a standstill with Christmas joy. The Cathe- dral of the Holy Cross is located at 1400 Washington Street in Boston's South End. General admission tickets are available now at or by calling 617-542-5682. Sugar Plum Fairies Flut- ter to the Boston Ballet .... Beginning November 23 through December 30, 2012 with music by Peter llyich Tchaikovsky and choreogra- phy by Mikko Nissinen, Nis- sinen's The Nutcracker, pre- sented by State Street Cor- poration will make its return to the Boston Ballet. The Nutcracker returns to the stage completely re- imagined with all new sets and costumes designed by award-winning designer Rob- ert Perdziola. The new pro- duction will capture the beauty and magic of the tra- ditional Nutcracker story with revised scene.s and chore- ography by Nissinen. Three years ago artistic director Mikko Nissinen called for new sets and costumes for the iconic work and man- ager of costumes and ward- robe Charles Heightchew's staff has been sew-ing itself silly ever since. "Kids will be astounded," said Heightchew. "It's more subtle, but it's much more intense in level of detail." The dancers in Waltz of the Flowers, for ex- ample, used to wear large, brightly colored skirts made to look like petals. Now they will don delicate pleated tulle skirts (hand-dyed in New York). Creating the cos- tumes for Boston Ballet's new Nutcracker had Height- chew on his toes for nearly a year. Fourteen hundred yards of hand-painted tulle with 250,000 Swarovski crystals went into 350 cos- tumes. Designer Robert Perdziola, who has created sets and costumes for the Metropolitan Opera and worked on movies such as Interview with the Vampire, is responsible for the look of this new production. The company says we will see 182 costumes on stage at each performance, and that "Perdziola hand-tipped every Sugar Plum and Snow Queen tutu with metallic paint." Perdziola has de- signed sets and costumes for the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Opera Boston, Glimmerglass Opera, Man- hattan School of Music and the Juilliard School of Drama. "Of opera, theatre With sugar plums dancing in their heads. See the fairytale come to life as The Nutcraker returns to the stage. and ballet, ballet clothing can be the most challenging of the three. There are nu- merous limitations, restric- tions to movement, weight limitations. One must al- ways be aware of how some- thing will move for the dancer; it must be at one with them, an extension of their movement. The fabric and shape must look like it is organic to the dance and not imposed on it. With all this time and effort, the designer's work will never look as good as when a dancer wears the clothes so in that it is the most re- warding design experience," said Perdziola. The Nutcracker has been performed annually for 42 years. Over 35 annual per- formances employ the tal- ents of the entire company and more than 250 Boston Ballet School students. In 2009, Boston Ballet's The Nutcracker was voted Best- Loved Nutcracker Production in the U.S. The Boston Ballet, founded in 1963 by E. Vir- ginia Williams, was the first professional repertory ballet company in New England. The Boston Ballet's national and international reputation developed under the leader- ship of Artistic Directors Violette Verdy (1980-1984), Bruce Marks (1985-1997) and Anna-Marie Holmes (Photo by Gene Schiavone) (1997-2000). Today, the Boston Ballet is one of the major ballet companies in North America and among the top companies in the world. Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen was se- lected to lead the Boston Ballet in September 2001. Under his exceptional artis- tic direction, the Boston Bal- let maintains an interna- tionally acclaimed repertoire of classical, neo-classical and contemporary works, ranging from full-length story ballets to masterworks by George Balanchine, to new works and world pre- mieres by some of today's finest contemporary chore- ographers. Nissinen leads the company and Boston Bal- let School, the largest ballet school in North America, with Executive Director Barry Hughson as the insti- tution approaches its 50 th anniversary in 2013. With so many festive events in Boston for the holi- days, this one is not to be missed. For the most up-to- date sketches, video and in- formation on the 2012 pro- duction of The Nutcracker, visit nutcracker2012. The Boston Opera House is located at 539 Washington Street in Boston and can be reached at 617-259-3400 for more ticket information. James Whiteside in The Nutcracker. (Photo by Gene Schiavone)