An amazing historical Hong Kong Nutcracker | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

An amazing historical Hong Kong Nutcracker

I've just returned home from this excellent and fun ballet ... an usher tipped me off about the historical paintings borrowed from HKMOA, one of which I immediately  recognized over the stage "fireplace".  Remember and get your tickets early next year.  All performsnces were sold out in no time.   


The setting for the opening party scene inspires much of Act I :

Clara's family's mansion is based on Kom Tong Hall , a stately home on Castle Road in Mid - Levels which was built by Ho Kom Tong , Sir Robert Ho Tung's younger brother , in 1914 , and currently serves as the Dr Sun Yat - sen Museum .

In addition , we've partnered with Hong Kong Museum of Art and 21 important paintings from HKMOA's permanent collection grace the walls of the estate's glamorous white - and - gold ballroom .

The party scene has been populated by characters who may have been seen at a Hong Kong party at that time, distinguished real - life figures such as Dr Sun Yat - sen , who had deep roots in Hong Kong and visited Hong Kong a number of times following the revolution of 1911 , Sir Robert Ho Tung who was an influential figure in Hong Kong life at the time , and a Shanghainese silent movie star loosely based on the real - life actress Lily Yuen , and fictional characters such as Clara's aunties and her Yeye ( grandfather ) and other iconic archetypes . Clara's favourite uncle , Tao Sifu , is an eccentric inventor who lives in the bottom of the old Kowloon - Canton Railway Clock Tower in Tsim Sha Tsui .

And late in the party , guests pull out tables and play mah - jong .

Later in Act I we see typical Hong Kong flour dolls come to life , a Rat King based on the famed pirate Cheung Po Tsai , whose cave one can visit today on Cheung Chau , and a majestic bamboo forest - a nod to the stunning old - growth bamboo from the Hong Kong Botanical Gardens .

A life - sized origami boat made from a popular early - 20th century Hong Kong newspaper floats by to bring Clara from Winter to Springtime .

Tchaikovsky's score for Act Il features a series of national dances which we've adapted to reflect local culture :

the Spanish dance becomes a dance for strutting Peacocks from the Hong Kong Botanical and Zoological Gardens ;

the Arabian dance depicts the Chinese legend of the White Snake ; the Chinese variation finds a little boy having an adventure at the Cheung Chau Bun Festival ;

the Russian variation becomes a horserace for a team of Jockeys from the Hong Kong Jockey Club ;

the Mirlitons or Reed Flutes become a flock of Hong Kong yellow - crested Cockatoos - in doing research for this production I was intrigued by news clippings of a tiger attack in Hong Kong in 1915 , and as such , the Cockatoos receive an unwanted feline visitor during their dance .

And in a nod to Hong Kong food culture , the traditional Mother Ginger becomes Mother Dim Sum and her Dim Sum Clowns .

There are even brief appearances by pink hued Chinese white dolphins which are indigenous to Hong Kong waters , and by a skittish wild boar from The Peak .

Act II's proceedings take place beneath a canopy of Hong Kong bauhinia flowers , which eventually come to life and dance a grand waltz .

This production is meant to be a celebration of the city we love so much . We are glad you are here to share it with us , and we hope you and your loved ones enjoy a magical holiday season . -Septime Webre


One of the HK Ballet dancers that used to do the Nutcracker in HK, Tirion Law,  is now doing the Nutcracker with the National Ballet of Canada in Toronto.