Friday, November 12, 2010

Getting in the holiday mood

I honestly don't remember the first time I saw a performance of The Nutcracker, but I do remember the first time I danced in the ballet. I was a flower--actually more like a bud, since I was pretty young at the time.

Years passed, and the Christmas after we were married, I conned DH into seeing The Nutcracker--it was his first ballet, and his appreciation for the music outweighed his disinclination for tutus and tights. The performance became a rite of passage for our sons when they reached the age of five, and this year our oldest son will be taking a special someone to see her first performance of the ballet.

I began work on a series of ornaments inspired by The Nutcracker two years ago, got discouraged, put them away to simmer, and only recently pulled the designs out for another look. Launching the series today is Herr Drosselmeyer, the mysterious but kindly gentleman whose gift of a nutcracker to young Clara is the impetus for the ballet's story line.

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) was commissioned to write the music for a ballet based on the tale Nutcracker and the Mouse King by German writer E. T. A. Hoffman. First performed in December 1892, the ballet tells the story of a family's Christmas eve celebration. I'll never forget one production I witnessed: as the party winds down, the guests depart and the family goes to bed. The stage lights dim, reappearing to focus on the sight of Herr Drosselmeyer perched atop a grandfather's clock. It was this memory that inspired my pose for the dapper old gentleman!

I'll be stitching the models for this series in the weeks to come, so do come back to visit and watch my progress!


Cool City Stitcher said...

The Nutcracker has always been a favorite of mine, and I love your design for this one. I'm looking forward to the series.

Possibilities, Etc. said...

I love him!! and oh what memories that every child should have of both music and ballet. My mother gave me a little record player for Christmas when I was five, with a record (78) of the Fred Waring Orchestra playing the music - with lyrics and a picture book, so I was able to kind of understand what was going on. No ballet in Abilene until later years. We had to go to Dallas.

Anonymous said...

This is going to be such fun to watch!! I know the music well. When I was 6, I got a recording of the Nutcracker Suite for Christmas. It was the only time it was allowed to be recorded with words! Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians. And I got Fred Waring to autograph the record for me in 1969. For me, it just isn't right without words though few people know it exists. I need to find the DVD of it now and enjoy it again. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I remember a fantastic Drosselmeyer in the performance I saw as a child. No one else has come close!