Hi all, I wrote this for a friend whom I am attempting to educate in the classical music genre. Thought you might like to see it. ~ <P>On Friday night I went to see the Nutcracker by the Portland<BR>Ballet Company.
<P>The Nutcracker Prince & the Mouse King is a compelling<BR>story ushering in the advent with wintry landscapes,<BR>sugar plum fairies, and ethnic ballet dancers defying gravity<BR>to Tchaikvovsky's dreamy romantic score. <P>Many view to interpret this story as one for children,<BR>......but for me it is a <BR>subversive theme with a Russian 19th century<BR>backdrop, alluding to a hidden sexual fantasy deep within <BR>the heart of a young girl on the verge of womanhood.
<P>Choreographers have been very liberal with the text of the<BR>Nutcracker, often altering it to suit the talents<BR>of their ballet companys , and over the years, I have <BR>witnessed many creative attempts to deliver a unique<BR>and memorable slant on this timeless masterpiece. <P>The catalyst in this story is Clara's Uncle Drosselmeyer,<BR>a magician and toymaker, who weaves a spell around her<BR>by crafting the legendary Nutcracker and presenting it<BR>to her as a Christmas gift. <P>By doing so, he is acknowledging his own<BR>earthly desires for her youth and admiration. <P>The Nutcracker gets broken in a jealous sibling skirmish<BR>, but the enchanting spell is <BR>affixed in place, and begins at midnight, in the parlor, well<BR>after all the guests have all gone home, and the rest of Clara's family<BR>is in bed. <P>As the Grandfather clock strikes the hour, the Christmas tree transforms <BR>into a towering giant, giving Clara the same sensation as Alice in Wonderland<BR>who is now "small". <BR>Every good storyline must have an antagonist, and the Mouse King<BR>with his grotesque army appears, to do their utmost<BR> to frighten and disturb Clara. <P>Masqueraded with a toothy grin, handle bar moustache,<BR> sword in hand, leaping about the stage, <BR>the Nutcracker and his toy soldier army spring into action. They wage<BR> battle valiantly, <BR>against the assailants to protect Clara. <P>At this point, it must be said that each and every bar of Tchaikovsky's<BR>score matches this dramatic scene in sonic description. <BR>Snare rolls and trumpets are a call to arms, string triplets define imaginary hoofbeats, <BR> and the thematic tension builds as it appears as though the<BR>Nutcracker's troops are being overwhelmed. <P>In an act of sheer desperation, Clara hurls her shoe at the Mouse King<BR>and he drops to the floor, twitching in death throes, then finally dies. <P>Clara's romantic fantasy begins in earnest here, as the Nutcracker transforms<BR>into an adoring prince who sweeps her off her feet, and into a sleigh to visit<BR>the Land of Sweets. <P>Here, we get a glimpse of the scope of Tchaikovsky's pallet <BR>for painting audible<BR>exotic landscapes, and this section of the performance is where <BR>most choreographers present their personal artistic views to us<BR>in never ending variety. <P>Then finally Christmas morning breaks, the Nutcracker turns back into<BR>a wooden doll, and Clara realizes this has all been a dream. <P>And what a dream it was.........~* *~ <P>*Season's Greetings*