Act II of The Nutcracker: Inside Balanchine’s Candy Box

When we return after intermission we find ourselves transported to Konfituerenburg or the Land of the Sweets. Balanchine said, “When the curtain rises we are inside a huge box of candy!” He drew on his childhood memories of Eliseyevsky’s, a grand sweet shop that Balanchine said was as opulent as a palace and filled with… Read More

Act I of The Nutcracker: A Christmas Eve Party Leads to Mystery and Magic

While setting The Nutcracker George Balanchine recalled his experiences as a young man at the Mariinsky Theatre, where he danced four roles in the ballet. So how fitting it is that the ballet’s opening picture is that of children: Marie and her brother Fritz. It is approximately 150 years ago and the children are waiting… Read More

The Origins of a Holiday Classic

Our story begins in 1816, with E.T.A. Hoffman’s tale, “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.“ Hoffman lived in the Kingdom of Prussia and wrote stories that merged fantasy and reality, and which often included inanimate things come to life. His story about the Nutcracker included some gruesome details, so when Alexandre Dumas wrote his version… Read More

And the Land of the Sweets Winner is…

…Allie Maki Maya with this Oregon inspired coffee laced recipe:  Coffee Toffee with Oregon Hazelnuts 1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) butter 1/2 cup light brown sugar 1/2 cup white sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons molasses (can swap corn syrup or honey) 1/4 teaspoon salt (or a heaping 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt) 1 1/2… Read More