The Jaded Sing Hallelujah for Oakland Ballet's Nutcracker

December 22, 2014 10:24 PM

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"I am experiencing a kind of crisis," Tchaikovsky wrote gloomily, after being ordered by the tzar's flunkeys to compose a ballet score for a flimsy tale centred around children, rats and a candy kingdom. After the glory of The Sleeping Beauty, the Nutcracker commission seemed like an insult.

But the death of his beloved sister Sasha fueled a burst of creativity: Sasha's spirit was to live on in the gutsy, charming character of Clara, and Tchaikovsky poured his grief, and his vivid childhood memories, into stirring musical themes whose richly evocative symphonic orchestrations ring out t...

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