Fun Facts About The Nutcracker At Christmas With John Beaudin #TheNutcracker

9_alberto-velazquez_photo-by-cheryl-mann-2It was 124 Years ago that the famous Christmas tradition premiered in Saint Petersburg Russia – December 18th, 1892.

Although the original production was not a success, the 20-minute suite that Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky extracted from the ballet was. Even though that music is some of the most famous pieces of all time the conductor felt it was inferior to his ballet ‘Sleeping Beauty’ but in the end ‘The Nutcracker’ became his most famous work. He died less than a year after his famous ballet opened never knowing it’s future success.

Though many thought he passed from cholera after drinking unboiled water some have speculated that he killed himself. He was only 53 and was once called a brilliant drunkard. He smoked and drank a lot.

The full “Nutcracker” came to America with the San Francisco Ballet in 1944. Ten years later it arrived to the big apple via The New York City Ballet. It was that George Balanchine’s production that finally made the Nutcracker a success. After that the story of a wooden nutcracker come to life to battle an over-sized Mouse King became a Christmas tradition. It’s now the sweet spot for holiday’s for every ballet around the world.

The New York City Ballet usually performs the Nutcracker 50 times each year.

Some fun facts:

The NYC production is one of the most famous renditions and a huge production. You might not know it but you will see 150 different costumes on stage. 57 people work backstage for help with scenery costumes and lighting and that huge Christmas tree on stage is 41 feet high weighing in at 1 ton.

arts_feature1-1The story of The Nutcrackers is based on E.T.A. Hoffman’s “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” which was much darker that the Christmas Eve version we see. It features a bloody battle between our wooden hero, who once was a prince and that dreaded Mouse King.

There is a Nutcracker Museum in Leavenworth, Washington. It is home to over 6,000 nutcrackers. – by John Beaudin

John Beaudin has been in major market radio (Edmonton, Vancouver & Calgary) for 33 years and a music journalist since 1989. He graduated from Broadcasting school as a news man so he would have the skills to write about the artists that inspired him since he bought his first album, “Madman Across The Water” by Elton John as a teen. In the 80’s Beaudin was the host of the syndicated radio show “The Cross Canada Report” which had two version (Rock and A/C). Beaudin was also asked to be a judge at the Juno Awards (Canada’s answer to the Grammys) Twice. He has anchored every position in radio including morning and afternoon drive and was a Program and Music Director for The Breeze and California 103 in Calgary. He currently hosts the popular Lovesongs at QM-FM in Vancouver.



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