Countdown to Christmas 26 days
If you live anywhere near Seattle in December, I encourage you to go and see the Pacific Northwest Ballet's production of The Nutcracker, with sets by Maurice Sendak. I love this production!
To be fair, I love the music of the Nutcracker and would gladly go see any production. But this production, with these sets and costumes, is cemented in my mind and the perfect combination of childlike whimsy that brings the music to life.
There is a interesting article on how Maurice Sendak became involved in this project. Here is an excerpt:
Sendak's first professional encounter with Nutcracker came when he was approached by the Pacific Northwest Ballet to re-create the original E.T.A. Hoffmann story for their 1983 stage production.
At first Sendak balked, wanting to avoid what he considered a predictable project. Through conversations with Northwest Pacific Ballet Artistic Director Kent Stowell, Sendak became inspired to overcome his initial perceptions of the work as the "most bland and banal of ballets" and take a "leap into the unknown."
During his research, he discovered that the version familiar to most modern audiences, "is smoothed out, bland, and utterly devoid not only of difficulties but of the weird, dark qualities that make it something of a masterpiece," Sendak writes in the introduction to Nutcracker.