Tchaikovsky: Selection from The Nutcracker
Lakeview Orchestra will perform Tchaikovsky’s Selection from The Nutcracker on Tuesday, December 18th at 7:30PM at the Athenaeum Theatre.
Tchaikovsky’s ballet The Nutcracker, completed in 1892, is based on Alexandre Dumas’ 1844 story, “The Nutcracker of Nuremberg”— which in turn is based on E.T.A. Hoffman’s 1816 story, “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.” Like Dumas, Tchaikovsky created a heavily sanitized version that is much more age appropriate for children than Hoffman’s original. A nefarious and cruel godfather is exchanged for a mysterious yet benign one, neglectful and dismissive parents are swapped for loving and caring ones, and a nightmarish hallucinatory odyssey through the ghastly Kingdom of Toys is replaced by a magical Disneyesque journey to the beautiful and joyous Land of Sweets, run by the benevolent Sugar Plum Fairy.
The Nutcracker’s main character, Clara, is a young girl who utilizes the expansive power of imagination. In the story, Clara engenders a universe where she is a pivotal character in helping to restore a handsome prince who was transformed into a nutcracker. The grateful prince brings her to the Land of Sweets, where she is serenaded and thanked for her heroism. The selections of The Nutcracker you will hear tonight depict Clara’s stay and celebration in the Land of Sweets.
Although The Nutcracker was first performed in the United States in 1944, it wasn’t until more than a decade later that choreographer George Balanchine, the “Father of American Ballet,” popularized the work as a holiday tradition. Now The Nutcracker is sealed in the canon of holiday classical art as most viewed ballet in the United States, with most ballet companies earning more than half their yearly ticket sales on this one work alone.
Program notes by Luke Smith.