The creative process behind The Nutcracker

Klio Bonz Flute

When I was little, while everyone was busy in the house I would secretly sneak into my father’s study. There, seated in his most comfortable armchair, I would put one of these old vinyl records to play. As if by magic the stories would become alive with not only words but with the most exquisite music.

Music and words, words and music. The two so well intertwined, their power even bigger than when they are on their own. The characters would take form and dance before my eyes, a squeaky door in the story would send me into a tremor, the magical sound of the harp would transform me into a princess myself.

Three little pigs, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Then came Swan Lake and the Four Seasons. I would spend hours just imagining, ‘living’ a second reality, one that I feel marked me forever!

I didn’t even realise how strong the impact was on me until, in 2017, the idea suddenly came to me of putting together different take on the Nutcracker. The magic was already there, it was just a question of finding a suitable music arrangement and a text that would somehow, magically, fit into it, along with some other little details.

I was very privileged to be involved in this creative process and work with the most wonderful artists: Grace Mo, pianist and teacher at the Conservatoire, and Mairead Sheerin, the Head of Music. Together we devised a ’humble’ and still magical Nutcracker to be performed in the Conservatoire’s intimate Victorian Art Studio.

The joy of devising our own take on classics is that there is no right or wrong, there are so many different ways of doing it and we had the creative license to do it our way. Just as we like to let our students develop their own ways of creative expression.

With me on the flute, and Grace Mo on the piano, Mairead narrates Clara’s very special story visiting an enchanting world and having once in a lifetime adventures with all sorts of creatures including the beloved Sugar Plum Fairy.

We just had to tune into our inner child ’s psyche and find what would work best for our young audiences, whilst still in the process also enchanting our more mature audiences.  We all need a healthy dose of magic from time to time and be transported to a world where, even for a short while, everything is possible!

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