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Member since: Sat Nov 30, 2013, 05:06 AM
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Anniversary of the first performance of The Nutcracker ballet, December 18, 1892

"The Nutcracker is Tchaikovsky's masterpiece. He said beforehand that he would write music that would make everyone weep! I danced in The Nutcracker as a child at the Maryinsky Theater. ... Tchaikovsky remained a child all his life, he felt things like a child. He liked the German idea that man in his highest development approaches the child. Tchaikovsky loved children as themselves, not as future adults.

"Actually, Nutcracker's second act is an enormous balletic sweetshop. In Petersburg there was a store like that, it was called Eliseyesvsky's: huge glass windows, rooms big enough for a palace, high ceilings, opulent chandeliers, almost like the ones at the Maryinsky. The floors at Eliseyesvsky's were covered with sawdust, and you could not hear footsteps -- it was like waking on carpets. The store had sweets and fruits from all over the world, like in A Thousand and One Nights. I used to walk past and look in the window often. ... Everything that appears in the second act of Nutcracker is a candy or something tasty. ... The Sugar Plum Fairy is a piece of candy and the dewdrops are made of sugar. The Buffon is a candy cane. It's all sugar!

"I think that people also like The Nutcracker so much because nowadays everyone is interested in how children used to live and play. In my day there was no interest in that. No one asked children how they lived, what they thought. Children simply tried to become as much like adults as quickly as possible, and that was all."

From Solomon Volkov's "Balanchine's Tchaikovsky"

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