CPO violinist Adriana Lebedovich sidelined but still excited for Alberta Ballet’s The Nutcracker

The holiday season brings with it many cherished holiday traditions, including Alberta Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker, now celebrating its 10th season. Many Calgarians eagerly anticipate this ballet, considering it an integral part of their annual festivities — and violinist Adriana Lebedovich is certainly one of them. 

Lebedovich is a member of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, the organization that supplies the music during each of The Nutcracker’s 12 performances in Calgary at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium Dec.14 to 24.

“For me, Christmas isn’t Christmas without The Nutcracker,” says Lebedovich, who became a member of the CPO back in 2007. “I just have this really formative memory of going to The Nutcracker when I was a kid … (Nowadays), playing The Nutcracker, I have a smile on my face the whole time!”

She won’t be joining her colleagues at the Jubilee this year, however, due to an ongoing injury, but she is still attending the dress rehearsal. “This will only be the second time in my career that I haven’t played it,” she says.

Interestingly enough, this year actually isn’t the first time Lebedovich has had an injury overlap with the holiday season, and more specifically, this ballet.   

“Nine years ago … I went back for The Nutcracker three weeks after breaking my ankle,” she laughs. “I had a chair where I put my foot in front of me … but I played all of the (shows), because there was no way that I would miss playing it — so that’s how dedicated I am to The Nutcracker!”

And Lebedovich seemingly never tires of the timeless masterpiece — in past years, even after completing a dozen performances of the ballet, she’s been known to keep listening to the music on her travels to visit family for the holidays. (The radio) would be playing the whole Nutcracker ballet, and I would listen to it yet again!” she says. 

Needless to say, she’s incredibly familiar with the music at this point.  

“If I needed to, I could probably play the whole thing by heart — I’ve always wanted to test that theory.”

Perhaps Lebedovich’s early foray into ballet lessons can explain her enduring infatuation with The Nutcracker? 

“I took ballet at Alberta Ballet when I was little,” says Lebedovich, until other activities, including violin lessons, started to take centre-stage in her life. “I ended up giving up ballet, but it would’ve been the year that I could’ve been a mouse in The Nutcracker, and so I’ve always had this longing!” 

Lebedovich herself isn’t completely sure what exactly it is about the show that she loves so much, but she suspects nostalgia plays a role.

“I don’t know, maybe just having the opportunity to feel like a kid again?” she guesses. “I’ve always liked Christmas and Christmas music, but yeah, (the Nutcracker) just makes me feel really really happy!”

(Photo courtesy Larysa Luciw.)

Alberta Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker runs Dec. 14 to 24 at the Jubilee Auditorium. For tickets and showtimes please click here

Jill Girgulis is a student at the University of Calgary and a regular contributor for as well as When she’s not busy studying for her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, she can most often be found in one of the first three rows of the Jack Singer Concert Hall.