The Nutcracker ballet is adapted from an earlier story by German author E.T.A. Hoffman called The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. Hoffman, incidentally, has several other connections with classical music. The ballet Coppelia by Delibes is based on a pair of his stories, Schumann’s Kreisleriana is based on one of his characters and Hoffman himself is the subject of Jacques Offenbach’s opera The Tales of Hoffman.
The moment the first few notes of the overture start up, Tchaikovsky’s music has already started to work its magic on us, particularly if The Nutcracker was a childhood tradition. On a freezing winter’s day the auditorium of a theatre is almost womb-like once the lights go down and we find ourselves wrapped up in what’s happening onstage.
I’m going to hazard a guess that The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy is the best known piece from The Nutcracker, and for those who have only a passing interest in classical music, possibly one of the few pieces they could identify if pressed. There have been many, er… interesting arrangements of it over the years.
I’m pretty certain that Peter Ilyich never saw that coming!
Boulevard’s Nutcracker Ale is a delicious winter warmer, complex and full of those malty caramel flavours, hints of dark fruits and spices and with a delicate bitter finish. At 5.9% ABV it’s in that no-mans land between a true session beer and something that’ll caress your throat with a soothing alcoholic warmth before it puts you flat on your back and hits you with a pinger of a headache next morning.
Jim Hughes, Head Beer Nerd, Alamo South Lamar
“If I had all the money I’ve spent on drink… I’d spend it on drink.” ~ Sir Henry Rawlinson