The Boston Ballet’s new “Nutcracker,” with its sleek and bejeweled costumes and spacious, regal sets, brings a softness and light — a wistful knowingness — to the venerable holiday classic. It, like artistic director Mikko Nissinen’s past version, is all about the dancing, not just an homage to pageantry and mime (though no worries: There’s plenty of magic afoot). But it goes a step further: It cracks open “the private world of children,” as artist Maurice Sendak puts it in his 1984 introduction to the E.T.A. Hoffmann story at the ballet’s core, revealing how far we have to travel to grow into our full, adult selves.
The production’s success, of course, owes as much to the dancers as to designer Robert Perdziola’s new costumes and sets and Nissinen’s adamance that the choreography spring straight from the Tchaikovsky score.