October 27, 2008

Ovation TV Kicks Off Its Second Annual “Battle of the Nutcrackers” Holiday Programming Event With Six Stylistically Diverse Productions

Only Ovation TV, the network dedicated to art, culture and creativity, could bring you the most spirited artistic battle on TV -- "Battle of the Nutcrackers - Grudge Match." After its triumphant debut last year, Ovation TV is stepping up the competition with this year's programming event by including six, highly diverse productions of the beloved holiday classic. Once again viewers will be asked to crown their favorite with their on-line votes at http://www.OvationTV.com. Hosted by Mark Morris, the choreographer of last year's favorite production "Hard Nut," the "Battle of the Nutcrackers - Grudge Match" will kick off Sunday, November 30 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

"Last year, we thought we'd have a little fun with one of the most beloved holiday traditions and turn it into a tongue-in-cheek 'battle,'" said Kris Slava, Senior Vice President, Programming and Production, Ovation TV. "Little did we know that our idea would meet with such enthusiasm! So this year, we're calling it a 'grudge match' as the 2007 winner -- Mark Morris's 'Hard Nut' -- is facing some serious challengers. We're so delighted that Mark himself will be hosting the event this year. All of these productions are as delightful as they are diverse so it will be exciting to see which one our viewers vote as their favorite Nutcracker of 2008."

"Battle of the Nutcrackers - Grudge Match" includes the following titles:

 --  Mark Morris's Hard Nut - Sunday, November 30, 8 p.m. ET/PT. Last     year's reigning champ in "The Battle of the Nutcrackers" takes on the     challenge once again, leading the pack of worthy contenders.      --  George Balanchine's Nutcracker - Monday, December 1, 8 p.m. ET/PT.     This is one of the most beloved stagings of the holiday classic. A young     girl's love turns a toy soldier into a handsome prince. Starring Darci     Kistler, Macaulay Culkin, narrated by Kevin Kline and featuring the New     York City Ballet.      --  Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker! - Tuesday, December 2, 8 p.m. ET/PT. This     delicious production is full of pathos and theatrical magic. From a     hilariously bleak Christmas Eve at Dr. Dross' Orphanage, to the spectacular     candy folk of Sweetieland, Clara's journey passes through Oliver Twist, the     Icecapades and the kaleidoscopic fantasy of Busby Berkeley musicals.      --  Bolshoi Ballet: The Nutcracker - Wednesday, December 3, 8 p.m. ET/PT.     The legendary holiday ballet performed by the Bolshoi Ballet. Featuring     Natalya Arkhipova and Irek Mukhamedov. Choreographed by Yuri Grigorovich.      --  Bejart's Nutcracker - Ovation TV Premiere, Thursday, December 4, 8     p.m. ET/PT. A radically innovative reimagining of The Nutcracker, this     staging by acclaimed choreographer Maurice Bejart departs from the     traditional Nutcracker story in virtually every way but the music. And even     the score is adjusted to include French popular music, which is performed     onstage by accordion legend Yvette Horner. Bejart, who passed away just     before Christmas last year, uses the Nutcracker as a vehicle to explore his     personal story.      --  Nutcracker: The Motion Picture - Ovation TV Premiere, Friday, December     5, 8 p.m. ET/PT. A very traditional staging with sets and costumes designed     by children's book writer and illustrator Maurice Sendak, best known for     the classic "Where The Wild Things Are." Performed by The Pacific Northwest     Ballet, this Nutcracker is one of the most beloved contemporary versions.     It closely refers to the original story by E.T.A. Hoffmann, which adds a     darker feel than the standard version. Directed by noted cinematographer     Carroll Ballard this film is sophisticated and elegant with graceful     dancing and vibrant sets.      

Offering new insight and commentary into this year's "Nutcracker" contenders will be celebrated American modern dancer, choreographer and director Mark Morris. Mr. Morris's work is acclaimed for its craftsmanship, ingenuity, humor, and at times eclectic musical accompaniments. During his career, he has created seven works for the San Francisco Ballet and has received commissions from such companies as American Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet and the Paris Opera Ballet. In 1994, Mr. Morris and Mikhail Baryshnikov established the White Oak Dance Project, a group formed to choreograph and perform new dance. He has also worked extensively in opera, directing and choreographing productions for the Metropolitan Opera, the New York City Opera, English National Opera, and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. He directed and choreographed King Arthur for English National Opera in June, 2006, and in May 2007 he directed and choreographed Orfeo ed Euridice for the Metropolitan Opera. He is the recipient of eight honorary doctorates. In 2006, Mr. Morris received the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs Mayor's Award for Arts & Culture and a WQXR Gramophone Special Recognition Award.

Viewers will be able to see clips of Nutcracker performances online at www.OvationTV.com before they cast their final votes. The Viewers' Choice will be aired on Christmas Eve, Wednesday, December 24 at 8 p.m. ET/PT and a Christmas Day marathon featuring all six Nutcrackers will kick off at 8 a.m. ET/PT.

About Ovation TV: Ovation TV is a multi-platform network devoted exclusively to art, culture, creativity and making art more accessible to viewers in their daily lives. The network showcases the world's greatest artists in theater, dance, opera, literature, film, visual and fine art, music, design, photography and architecture. Ovation TV reaches a national audience of more than 28 million households through carriage on DirecTV (channel 274), Dish Network (channel 157) and on cable and telco systems in major markets across the country. Ovation TV's programming is also available on video on demand (in both standard and high definition), as well as at http://www.OvationTV.com.

 Information:  Patricia Frith Patricia Frith Marketing (for Ovation TV) 818.876.0480 Email Contact  Melissa Goldberg FYAworld (for OvationTV) 323.951.9790 Email Contact  Images available upon request.  

SOURCE: Ovation TV