After a hiatus from live music, “The Nutcracker” brings back the symphony

After a year hiatus from live music, Ballet Arizona’s “The Nutcracker” will return Dec. 8-24 with the Phoenix Symphony at Symphony Hall. Photos courtesy of Ballet Arizona.

A local holiday entertainment staple, Ballet Arizona’s “The Nutcracker” will return this year with live music by the Phoenix Symphony. The symphony was absent from last year’s performance after organizers said the cost of live music was just too high.

Tickets for the Dec. 8-24 production at Symphony Hall go on sale Monday, July 10.

Ticket sales for Ballet Arizona’s “The Nutcracker” dipped last year without live music. The Phoenix Symphony is back for this year’s production.

The $1.8 million production, created in 2006 by Ballet Arizona Artistic Director Ib Andersen, features 30 professional dancers, more than 100 youth performers, 100,000 Swarovski crystals, and 260 costumes. Tickets are $25-$159.

Ticket sales dipped last year without the live music, and Ballet Arizona moved some finances around for the 2017-2018 season to secure funds for the symphony in order to elevate the production and create the most authentic Nutcracker experience possible, said Hannah Cooper, marketing director at Ballet Arizona.

The symphony will join Ballet Arizona for two more performances this year, including “Swan Lake,” set to Tchaikovsky’s score on Oct. 26-29 and “Cinderella” on Feb. 15-18.

“The Phoenix Symphony celebrates and shares the artistic vision of Ib Anderson and Ballet Arizona and is happy to be providing, once again, the critical element of live music for ‘The Nutcracker,’” Jim Ward, president and CEO of the Phoenix Symphony, said in a statement. “It is always our honor and privilege to perform with and support the world class artistry that Ib Anderson brings to the Phoenix community, and we hope, through the community’s support, that this marriage of the Phoenix Symphony’s live music with Ballet Arizona’s innovative work will continue for years to come.”