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 Post subject: From "Casse Noisette" to "Nutcracker"
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2001 8:15 pm 
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I thought it might be interesting to look up a little of the history of the “Nutcracker”……what do you think? Here goes....from G.B.L. Wilson’s “Dictionary of Ballet.” Here are the main points of a rather long entry:<P>It was called “Casse Noisette” and based on a tale by Hoffman. Petipa was prevented by illness from choreographing this ballet and so it fell to his assistant Ivanov. It was first performed at the Maryinsky Theatre, in St. Petersburg on December 6, 1892. The first Sugar Plum Fairy was danced by Antonietta Dell’Era, who came from Milan as part of the Italian contingent of ballerinas who so greatly improved the technique of the Russians. Pavel Gerdt was the first Prince. Others in the performance were Legat, Preobrajenska, and Kyasht. <P>The ballet was revived in its entirety by Sergueeff for the Sadlers Wells Ballet at the Sadlers Wells Theatre on January 20, l934 with Markova and Judson and by the Festival Ballet in London, Oct. 24th, 1950 with Markova and Dolin.<P>In Russia a new version in three acts was given at the Kirov Theater, Leningrad on 18th of April, 1934 with Ulanova and Sergeyev. In the Russian versions Clara is called Masha and she dances the grand adagio and the Sugar Plum Variation. This version was also presented by the Bolshoi on 12th of March, 1966.<P>Another notable version was by Balanchine with Maria Tallchief and Magallanes on February 2nd, 1954. The Royal Ballet presented a version on February 29th, l968 with Meryl Park and Rudolph Nureyev.. In Balanchine’s “101 Stories of the Great Ballets,” he mentions how much he likes this ballet and that he danced in it when he was 15 yrs. old. <P>I think one thing of interest here is that most of these dates noted above do not coincide with Christmas And yet, when one thinks about that it is seems only natural that we now see this ballet presented during the Christmas season, since it is a story about Christmas celebration – and dreams. <BR>


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 Post subject: Re: From "Casse Noisette" to "Nutcracker"
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2001 10:01 pm 
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Thanks, Basheva, for this wonderful idea. And here is a link to the history leading to the first ever full Nutcracker in the US, the 1944 production by San Francisco Ballet:<P> <A HREF="http://www.sfballet.org/performances/nutcracker/history.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.sfballet.org/performances/nutcracker/history.html</A> <p>[This message has been edited by Azlan (edited December 02, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: From "Casse Noisette" to "Nutcracker"
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2001 10:02 pm 
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And an interview with Jocelyn Volmar, America's first Snow Queen:<P> <A HREF="http://www.sfballet.org/performances/nutcracker/jocelyn_interview.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.sfballet.org/performances/nutcracker/jocelyn_interview.html</A>


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 Post subject: Re: From "Casse Noisette" to "Nutcracker"
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2001 6:01 am 
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Some further tidbits gleaned from the "Oxford Dictionary of Dance" by Craine and Mackrell:<P>In E.T.A. Hoffman's story it is called "Der Nussknacker und der Mausekonig". Pavel Gerdt, danced the first prince - who's name by the way, was "Prince Coqueluche" (I sure didn't know that!). Sergei Legat was the Nutcracker. (There were separate roles for the Nutcracker and the Prince?).<P>The ballet was in two acts and designed to be a double bill with the opera "Iolanta." The libretto was by Petipa, designs by M.I. Botcharov, K. Ivanov, and I. Vsevolojsky. Little of Ivanov's choreography has survived but the Grand Pas de Deux is his. (One of my very favorite grand pas de deux in the entire ballet repertoire, especially when done by Galina and Valery Panov.) <P>It is the most performed ballet in the world, but didn't really become popular until after the Second World War. Virtually every major company in the world has a version and it is now being produced by modern dance choreographers such as Mark Morris and Matthew Bourne.<P>...............<P>I just took the name of the prince "Coqueluche" and put it into the Alta Vista World Translator to see what the Prince's name might mean in French and - LOL - it came up "whooping cough." Can someone who is better at this than I obviously am come up with a meaning for his name?<P>


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 Post subject: Re: From "Casse Noisette" to "Nutcracker"
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2001 9:26 am 
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Here is some more - this is from Google - and it's a shame it doesn't mention the San Francisco Ballet production:<P> Image <BR><font size=1>Marius Petipa</font><P><BR> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>"The Nutcracker" was originally based on a story written by German writer E.T.A. Hoffman. Tchaikovsky was commissioned to write the music in 1891 by the St. Petersburg Opera, but he was initially unhappy with the setting of a children's Christmas Party. The legendary choreographer Marius Petipa (first ballet-master to His Imperial Majesty the Tsar) presented Tchaikovsky with an exact scenario which he wanted, including the rhythm, tempo, and number of measures for each dance. Petipa later became ill, and the choreographic work was assumed by his assistant, Lev Ivanov.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://www.kirovballet.com/nuthist.html" TARGET=_blank><B>Google Search - Nutcracker</B></A><P>............................................<P><B>Here is the Legend of the Nutcracker - it's quite different from the story we see in the ballet:</B><P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Hoffman's plot centers around a young German girl named Marie who lived in a loveless house. The only warmth in Marie's life is a strange love she holds for her Nutcracker doll, a gift from her Godfather Drosselmeier at the family Christmas party. At night after the party is over, hundreds of mice appear from cracks in the room, led by the vicious Mouse King with seven heads. He blackmails Marie into giving him all of her marzipan dolls by threatening to dismember her prized Nutcracker doll. The Nutcracker eventually comes to life and attempts to fight off the Mouse King, but is easily beaten. Marie retaliates by throwing her slipper at the Mouse King and fainting immediately after. There was no outcome to the battle in this portion of Hoffman's tale.<P>The next time the reader sees Marie, she is lying in a pool of blood surrounded by her family and a doctor. She apparently has cut her arm on the glass of a toy cabinet that fell on her and she has nearly bled to death. Instead of comfort, her family scolds her and sentences her to her room until she will admit that she is a naughty child. While Marie is recovering, Drosselmeier comes to visit and ends up telling her another story about the Mouse King and the Nutcracker. Here Hoffman tells a story within a story:<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://www.kirovballet.com/story.html" TARGET=_blank><B>Hoffman's Story of the Legend of the Nutcracker</B></A><P>I forgot to add......when you get there scroll down half a page to the legend.....it's really spooky.<P><p>[This message has been edited by Basheva (edited December 02, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: From "Casse Noisette" to "Nutcracker"
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2001 4:48 am 
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I read the story by Hoffman as a child and I loved it, even the gory Princess Pirlipat bits (I'll never forget the macabre illustrations of the royal family crying for more bacon). In fact I prefer it to the soaped-down ballet version. It would be interesting to see a Nutcracker that is faithful to the original. If I'm not wrong, Coppelia, whose counterpart in opera is Olympia from Les Contes d'Hoffman, is based on Hoffman's stories too and has a less than pleasant origin as well.


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 Post subject: Re: From "Casse Noisette" to "Nutcracker"
PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2001 7:00 am 
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More thoughts on Nutcracker from the Los Angeles Times:<P> Image <P><font size=1>Inland Pacific Ballet performs "The Nutcracker."<BR>ERIC YANAGI</font><P><B>'The Nutcracker' in a Nutshell<BR>With so many versions from which to choose, the trick is to find one that embodies the Christmas ballet's core values. Take it from someone who has seen more than her fair share.</B><P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>With so many "Nutcrackers" available, how do you decide which one to see? It's all a matter of looking for the ballet's core values, finding what you might call the Essential "Nutcracker." First, you need Tchaikovsky; then comes basic fidelity to the story—girl gets doll, doll comes to life and fights battle, doll takes girl through a snow forest and into Candy Land, where everyone feels so darn good they just have to dance. Add to that liberal amounts of magic, crowds of children and a home-and-hearth holiday mood, and you've got yourself a real "Nutcracker."<P>Or at least that's what happens when "The Nutcracker" fulfills its destiny. This season in the Southland alone, more than a dozen productions will attempt to deliver on the ballet's holiday promise, from dancing school extravaganzas to pitch-in community efforts to big-name touring companies and local ballets of different levels. And all of them will participate in the evolution of the annual "Nutcracker," a ballet that's undergone constant change from the moment in 1892 when a tale by E.T.A. Hoffmann was radically simplified for the Russian imperial ballet stage. There are versions including a "Harlem Nutcracker" and a Barbie "Nutcracker"; there are stiff Russian versions and hometown American ones; and there are versions that make you want to see your shrink.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://www.calendarlive.com/top/1,1419,L-LATimes-Theater-X!ArticleDetail-47876,00.html" TARGET=_blank><B>MORE...</B></A><BR> <P><BR>


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 Post subject: Re: From "Casse Noisette" to "Nutcracker"
PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2001 7:02 am 
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Copied from another thread:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><B>The story of the Nutcracker</B><P>Lauren Heist, Sun-Sentinel.com<P>The Nutcracker is based on a story by E.T.A. Hoffman and set to the timeless music of Peter Tchiakovsky. It was first performed in 1892 by the Kirov Ballet, with choreography by Marius Petipa – who also choreographed Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and Don Quixote. But the version that we are most familiar with is the one choreographed by the Kirov-trained George Ballanchine in 1954.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><a href=http://www.sun-sentinel.com/entertainment/stage/sfl-nutcrackerstory.story target=_blank><B>More</B></a> (Check out the sidebar for excerpts of the music.)


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 Post subject: Re: From "Casse Noisette" to "Nutcracker"
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2001 5:39 am 
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It occurred to me that in some versions of the ballet the role of Clara/Marie/Masha is danced by a young ballet student and then as the ballet progresses into the dream sequence the role is taken over by a ballerina.<P>But in other productions, like Baryshnikov's for ABT, the role is danced throughout by the same ballerina (as in the filmed version of ABT - Kirkland and Baryshnikov).<P>Do you think that makes any difference?<P>Wasn't Balanchine's version usually danced by a student from SAB as Clara/Marie/Masha?


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 Post subject: Re: From "Casse Noisette" to "Nutcracker"
PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2002 12:22 pm 
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Quote:
The history of 'Nutcracker' — in a nutshell

Tom Di Nardo, Philadelphia Daily News

'I want audiences to see music and hear dancing," George Balanchine said about his choreography. The brilliance of his imagination is startlingly apparent in his setting of "The Nutcracker," a little tale of a doll and a mouse king transformed into a timeless masterpiece by the Pennsylvania Ballet.
<a href=http://ae.philly.com/entertainment/ui/philly/stage.html?id=46488 target=_blank>More</a>


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