Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Nutcracker: Pieces of Childhood - Piece I, Act 1

A very intimate post I bring to you, one of the many pieces that form my childhood. The Nutcracker. The very name thrills me. The music was part the musical score for my childhood.

I hardly know if I can properly express how much I truly adore this creation. It had everything my young heart looked for in entertainment. A love story, with beautiful visuals, delightful and dark music, a hero I could believe in, and a villain who was equally fascinating.

The particular interpretation of the story which is dear to my heart is performed by the Pacific Northwest Ballet (link). This is the version which I grew up with. I am very thankful that the VHS recording that my mother has still works. I hope one day they will release a DVD of the performance.

One notable aspect of this production is the costumes and sets, designed by Maurice Sendak. I am sure many of you know him at the illustrator and writer of Where The Wild Things Are. After re-reading the story book (before going to see the film) I realized that the Wild Things have the same eyes as my beloved Nutcracker. Maybe that is why I have such a soft spot for them in my heart.

IMG_0577, originally uploaded by Yakpimp.

Further making the PNB performance, in my mind, of The Nutcracker as the definitive performance is the presence of this illustrated book (). It is the one that I grew up with. I still read it every Christmas. This could be the first year I do not read it, for I have loaned the book to a friend. Hopefully I shall have it again by Christmas Eve.

(Photo from Stuart Ng Books: link)

Nevertheless, the VHS is still working, and clips of the production exist on YouTube (stay tuned for another post with YouTube clips). Furthermore, the performance, the sets, the costumes are still in use today! As can be seen in the trailer below. This is what gives me the greatest thrill; that I may one day be able to see a performance that I cherish greatly as a child.

And I feel certain that whatever the performance is like, even if they have changed something, will still be better than the performance that I saw at the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre last year. That performance is worthy of a rant. Maybe even a future blog post. Maybe. Maybe not.

Kindest personal regards,
And do not forget the reason for the season,
Miss Alice Grimm


  1. Dear Alice -
    We're so glad you're a fan of Pacific Northwest Ballet's NUTCRACKER - and thanks for the kind words! You really should try to come see the performance in Seattle one of these days - we think the live version is even better than the movie. Happy holidays,
    -- PNB's PR Guy

  2. I'm sure it is! And I would love to see it live some day. It might take some time, but I will see it, one day :)