A lone figure glides onto the stage at the Boston Opera House. It’s a young girl, dressed in a powder blue Victorian party frock. The spotlight stays on her alone. She pauses in the silence as the audience holds its collective breath, waiting with her. She looks around, and she smiles. And with that first brilliant beam, a smile that radiates joy and imagination and childhood, the orchestra launches into the unmistakable first bars of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. This is the Boston Ballet, directed by Mikko Nissinen, with all its dazzling Christmas colors and orchestral beauty. This is the Mouse King and Uncle Drosselmeyer. And this is Clara, played by 15-year-old Elise Beauchemin of Londonderry, N.H.
The Undomesticated Church
Stop me if you've heard this one: A lukewarm young Catholic walks into a chapel. She sighs, her mind wanders, and then she's struck breathless at the sight of a tall, handsome man skulking in another pew. She immediately sets to work bullying him into marrying her, mainly because of his beautiful eyes. They spend the next few decades floundering around spiritually, psychologically, and financially, and they also have ten children or whatever; and somewhere in the process, they become extremely happy and almost absurdly Catholic, even unto writing a marriage and family column for Parable.
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