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RPO and Rochester City Ballet’s Nutcracker Kicks Off Rochester Holiday Season

Rochester, NY – The drop in temperature and the mention of snow certainly are precursors to winter, but for thousands of Rochesterians, they also mean that the beloved holiday tradition of The Nutcracker can’t be far behind. Thanks to the time-honored collaboration between the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra directed by Principal Conductor for Education and Outreach Michael Butterman (The Louise and Henry Epstein Family Chair), and the Rochester City Ballet (under the artistic direction of Jamey Leverett), a new generation of audiences will experience the visual and musical magic of Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet. Six performances of The Nutcracker at the Eastman Theatre (60 Gibbs Street) will be staged twice daily at 2:00 and 7:00 p.m. on Friday, November 24, Saturday, November 25, and Sunday, November 26.  The voices of the Nazareth College Bach Children’s Chorus directed by Karla Krogstad also will be featured. 

This year, the role of the “Sugar Plum Fairy” will be shared by Sarah Lane, current American Ballet Theatre company member, and Diana Catalina Gomez, a member of the Ballet Gamonet.  The role of “Cavalier” will be shared by Luis Ribagorda of ABT and Andres Felipe Figueroa of the Ballet Gamonet.  Tetsushi Segawa, a current member of Les Ballets Grandiva, will dance the lead Chinese role as well as the role of “Harlequin.”  RCB company members Madeline Matuska and Gabriel Davidsson will dance the roles of “Clara” and the “The Nutcracker Prince,” respectively.  A total of nearly 200 community children also will be involved in these productions.

The Rochester City Ballet (RCB) continues its ongoing visual transformation of The Nutcracker, treating audiences to a number of eye-catching new costumes including a new party dress for “Clara” and redesigned “Archangel” and “Holly Sprite” costumes.  “The Nutcracker Prince,” “Mouse King,” as well as the Toy Soldiers and Mice now reflect distinct character personalities.  The new costumes are due in great part to a $50,000 grant secured by Senator Jim Alesi as part of a major gift initiative for RCB’s new Nutcracker sets and costumes.

Tickets for these performances are $26-$60, available online 24/7 at, by phone (454-2100) and in person from the RPO Box Office, as well as at all Wegmans Video Departments.  Ticket buyers can save 20% on children’s tickets and 10% on adult tickets with their Wegmans Shoppers Club card.  RPO Box Office Hours are Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (non-concert Saturdays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.). The Wegmans Video Department is open seven days a week, 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. A convenience fee may apply.

The Nutcracker is sponsored by Caldwell Manufacturing Company, Constellation Brands, and Macy’s. 

Now in its 84th season, the RPO inspires and enriches the community through the art of music.  The Orchestra is passionately dedicated to outstanding musical performance at the highest artistic levels, and has a unique tradition of musical versatility, commitment to music education in the broadest sense and a deep and enduring engagement with the community.  The RPO has been honored with the New York State Governor’s Arts Award, and two ASCAP awards for adventurous programming in recent years.

Founded in 1987, the Rochester City Ballet (RCB) is a non-profit, educational corporation.  It presents a full season of quality dance to diverse audiences and helps keep the arts alive by presenting performances to educate and entertain adults and children at community events and special RCB performances.  The RCB has created at least 20 new ballets including Firebird, Don Quixote, Cinderella and the annual Nutcracker

RPO performances are made possible in part with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency; the State of New York; Monroe County; the City of Rochester; and American Airlines, the official airline of the RPO.