Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Nutcracker

In the hundred years or so since its debut, Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker has become a delightful aspect of modern Christmas celebrations. Composed during the "Silver Age" of Russian ballet, The Nutcracker is based upon a fairy tale by the German romantic writer E.T.A. Hoffman, whose stories also inspired Delibes' Coppelia and Offenbach's Tales of Hoffman. It is one of the few ballets that is not a love story, although later stagings have tried to make it into one.

The music, however, is powerful enough for any story of a great romance. In college, I helped my sister Andrea, who was still in high school, with a project; we were listening to the "Pas de Deux" of the Sugar Plum Fairy and her cavalier. Andrea said, "That must be from a really great love story."

"No, it's just from The Nutcracker," I replied.

It is a simple story, full of childhood's innocent, but very real, hopes and fears. To watch or listen to The Nutcracker is to enter into a dream, a dream which comes to life even after so many years, and all wars and revolutions which have tormented the world. Share


Anonymous said...

I love the ballet and I especially love The Nutcracker. It seems that not many people today are interested in ballet. I have a very difficult time getting people to attend the ballet with me.

Juliana (from I'm not at my home computer right now and I can't remember my Google sign-in, so I'm choosing to comment "anonymously." :-))

Anonymous said...

I saw "The Nutcracker" while I was in grade school. It was done by a professional ballet company.
There's a televised version of it around this time of year.
Oh great, now I got the music of it in my head at the moment!

elena maria vidal said...

I love ballet, especially anything by Tchaikovsky.

Enbrethiliel said...


There is a rooftop display at a shopping mall near my home, which retells the story of The Nutcracker using life-sized animatronic (I hope that's the right term!) puppets.

I hadn't thought about the story in years, when I watched the show a few weeks ago; but it all came rushing back to me in the first few moments. It is such a magical story--one which makes me joyful and sad at the same time. So many times have I, like Clara, seemed to have entered a fantasy world more enchanting than this one, only to wake up and find that it was all a dream! Yet Clara has more faith than I ever did; she doesn't stop believing in the Prince's kingdom.