Sunday, November 28, 2010
Act II, continued!
Next up in my new series based on The Nutcracker ballet is Mother Ginger, the title character in the last divertissement, or independent dance, of Act II. Tchaikovsky based this character on the nursery rhyme Mother Gigogne, or the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe, and derived inspiration for the music from a French folk song.
Unlike the other entertainments provided at the banquet for Clara and the Nutcracker in the Land of Sweets, this one is a light-hearted frolic. The character of Mother Ginger, traditionally played by a man on stilts, lumbers onto the stage wearing an enormous hoop skirt and garish wig. At a musical cue, Mother opens the front of the skirt and an assortment of children--lucky members of the ballet company's school--scurry out and scamper around the stage.
When I worked up this design two years ago, the hardest part was including seven figures in a diamond-shaped ornament 4-1/2 inches high by 4-1/2 inches wide! Revisiting this canvas, I didn't change the composition, but I will need to make some decisions about color to make Mother Ginger and her brood come to life!