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I am interested in learning more about the "first" san Francisco production. I believe there was a Christensen involved

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here's a start:

Nutcracker : Chor: Lew Christensen; mus: Petr Chaikovskii; scen & cos: Leonard Weisgard. First perf: San Francisco, War Memorial Opera House, Dec 18, 1954; San Francisco Ballet Company.

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The SF Ballet website article (thanks, Brioche!) says this of the first performance:

The 1944 premiere featured artist Antonio Sotomayor as the designer and Russell Hartley as costume designer. With a $1,000 budget, Company members helped out by standing in long lines to purchase fabric for costumes in 10-yard lengths, as allocated by wartime rationing. Five dollars was enough to buy all the artificial flowers, feathers and rhinestone necklaces from the Goodwill. Since it was wartime and materials were scarce, red velvet stage curtains from what had been The Cort Theater in San Francisco (where Anna Pavlova had danced her last San Francisco seasons) were purchased by Hartley from Goodwill and fashioned into soldiers' uniforms for Act I. The material was so abundant that it provided the Company a source of velvet that lasted for the next 10 years.

The 1954 revival premiered December 18, 1954 (thanks, rg!). Balanchine's version at NY City Ballet premiered 10 months earlier. I wonder if someone at SFB read the NYCB reviews and said: "Hey, maybe it's time to have a look at all that Nuitcracker stuff in the warehouse and see what we have. Maybe there's more to this Nutcracker business than we thought in 1944."

Does anyone know how the 1944 SFB production compares in concept and choreography from 1954? Did Balanchine influence the second SF production?

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