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VOA慢速英语2010年-Snowflakes and Sugarplum Fairies? Yep,

时间:2011-01-03 06:16来源:互联网 提供网友:hp2786   字体: [ ]
    (单词翻译:双击或拖选)

FAITH LAPIDUS: And I’m Faith Lapidus with EXPLORATIONS in VOA Special English. Today we enter a world of Christmas magic, snowflakes, sweets and sugarplum fairies. “The Nutcracker” is one of the most popular ballets in the world. It is also an important part of the winter holiday season in America. This week, we tell about the history of this ballet and several versions2 being performed throughout the United States.

(MUSIC-“March”)

DOUG JOHNSON: Our story begins at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia on December eighteenth, eighteen ninety-two. People have come to see the first performance of “The Nutcracker.” Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky wrote the music and Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov created the ballet’s dance movements.

The ballet was based on a story called “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” by the German writer E.T.A. Hoffmann. The French writer Alexandre Dumas later rewrote Hoffman’s story. The ballet is based on this version1 by Dumas.

FAITH LAPIDUS: Tchaikovsky did not much like the ballet or story of “The Nutcracker.” He reportedly wrote to a friend that the music he was writing was far worse than the music for his earlier ballet, “The Sleeping Beauty.” Many of the people watching “The Nutcracker” that night did not like the ballet either and criticized3 it. But others praised the ballet for its music.

Grettel Morejon of Cuba's National Ballet performs in "The Nutcracker" with dancers from the Canadian Ballet Youth Ensemble4 in Havana last January

DOUG JOHNSON: Tchaikovsky was one of the first major composers to use a new musical instrument called a celesta. He discovered the instrument during a visit to Paris. You can hear it in “The Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy.” It gives a special magic to this dance.

(MUSIC- “Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy”)

FAITH LAPIDUS: Tchaikovsky probably would not have believed that his ballet would one day become an international success. He did not live long enough to find out. He died in eighteen ninety-three at the age of fifty-three.

DOUG JOHNSON: In time, “The Nutcracker” was performed throughout Russia and the rest of Europe. The first performance in the United States was in nineteen forty. The Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo performed a shorter version of it in New York City. The first full-length performance was in nineteen forty-four by the San Francisco Ballet.

The famous Russian-born ballet director George Balanchine created his own version of “The Nutcracker” for the New York City Ballet. This group has been performing the ballet every year since nineteen fifty-four.

Other dance companies around the United States soon followed this ballet tradition. For many dance companies “The “Nutcracker” is an important part of their financial operation. Some big cities have several different productions of the popular ballet.

(MUSIC-“Grandfather’s Dance”)

Dancers from Britain's Royal Ballet rehearse for "Nutcracker" performances in 2008

FAITH LAPIDUS: More than any other ballet, “The Nutcracker” is about children and the wonder of childhood. For many young Americans, “The Nutcracker” is the first professional dance performance they will experience. Performances are generally filled with parents and children of all ages. Many of the dancers in the ballet are also children. And, the story is about a child.

The story of “The Nutcracker” differs with every production. But we will tell a traditional version to give you an idea of the story.

DOUG JOHNSON: The ballet begins the night before Christmas at the large house of a German couple and their two children, Clara and Fritz. The family is having a Christmas party with many guests.

(MUSIC- “Herr Drosselmeier's Gifts”)

The godfather of Clara and Fritz arrives and gives them wonderful gifts. Clara receives a nutcracker, shaped like a toy soldier. But her brother breaks the nutcracker while playing with it. Clara is very sad that her beloved5 toy has been damaged. Later, the guests leave and everyone goes to bed.

FAITH LAPIDUS: Clara wakes up in the night to check on her injured nutcracker. The clock strikes midnight. Suddenly the room fills with large mice. The Christmas tree starts to grow and grow. Clara’s nutcracker also increases in size, becoming the size of a human. He fights a battle with the mice. The toys in the room also come to life and fight as soldiers alongside6 the nutcracker.

(MUSIC- “Battle”)

With Clara’s help, the Nutcracker defeats the mouse army and kills the Mouse King. The Nutcracker then turns into a prince.

(MUSIC- “In the Pine Forest”)

DOUG JOHNSON: The Nutcracker Prince leads Clara through a pine forest where snowflakes dance around them. Then, they travel to the beautiful Land of Sweets. This land is ruled by the Sugarplum Fairy.

The Prince tells her about Clara’s bravery in helping7 him defeat the Mouse King. The Sugarplum Fairy rewards Clara by presenting a series of dances. These include a Spanish, Arabian, Chinese and Russian dance.

(MUSIC- “Russian Dance”)

After the celebration, the Sugarplum Fairy and the Prince do a beautiful dance for two, or a pas de deux.

(MUSIC- “Pas de Deux”)

Clara falls asleep. When she wakes up, she is in her house by the Christmas tree with the toy nutcracker in her arms.

FAITH LAPIDUS: People can see many versions of “The Nutcracker” this time of year. Some are very different from the story we have described. These include a Jewish8 klezmer music version, a gay9 dance-along version and a sexy version for adults only.

New York Times reporter Alastair Macaulay has spent weeks travelling around the United States to see many different “Nutcracker” performances.

These include performances in New York City; Memphis, Tennessee; Houston, Texas, and Newport, Rhode Island. His “Nutcracker Chronicles” tell about his travels and the many versions of the ballet.

DOUG JOHNSON: For example, the New York-based Mark Morris Dance Group has redefined this ballet in its production called “The Hard Nut.” It takes place in the nineteen seventies. This modernized10 version is dark, funny and very imaginative11.

British dance director Matthew Bourne begins his ballet “Nutcracker!” in a center for children without parents. Clara later sees her beloved Nutcracker Prince fall in love with someone else in a strange world of sugar called Sweetieland.

FAITH LAPIDUS: Many performances of “The Nutcracker” are created with the local area in mind. For example, the Tucson Regional Ballet in Arizona puts on “A Southwest Nutcracker.” The production includes coyotes, chili12 peppers and a Mama Pinata.

Septime Webre is the artistic13 director of the Washington Ballet in Washington, D.C. His “Nutcracker” takes place in historical Washington. It begins in the Georgetown area of the city in eighteen eighty-two.

SEPTIME WEBRE: “So I thought it would be wonderful for the ballet to reflect the people who are watching the production. I always think art is most powerful when people can see themselves in the work somehow.”

DOUG JOHNSON: Septime Webre says that in his version Clara dreams through time. For example, the battle scene in Act One is influenced by the American Revolution. The Nutcracker’s role is based on George Washington. His opponent14, the Mouse King, is British King George the Third. Act Two takes place amid15 Washington’s famous cherry blossoms16.

We asked Mr. Webre what he thinks has made “The Nutcracker” ballet such a beloved production over the years.

SEPTIME WEBRE: “Well, the music absolutely is the key to its success. It’s so familiar, but it is also so beautifully rendered17. And, despite it being played over and over at every shopping mall in the country, it doesn’t become commercial.”

FAITH LAPIDUS: Septime Webre says that seeing a beautiful ballet dancer skillfully dancing to Tchaikovsky’s music is to see a joy and faith in the harmony of the world. And, he says this is a message that people seek during the holiday season.

(MUSIC)

DOUG JOHNSON: This program was written and produced by Dana Demange. I’m Doug Johnson.

FAITH LAPIDUS: And I’m Faith Lapidus. Our programs are online with transcripts18 and MP3 files at voaspecialenglish.com. Join us again next week for EXPLORATIONS in VOA Special English. And happy holidays to everyone.


点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 version FiJwT     
n.版本;型号;叙述,说法
参考例句:
  • His version of the events is pure supposition.他对这件事的说法纯属猜测。
  • What is your version of this matter?你对这件事情的看法 怎么样?
2 versions b17be6650251f2e6c7d4e90209beb4e0     
n.译本( version的名词复数 );版本;(个人对事件的)描述;(原物的)变体
参考例句:
  • There are two versions of the game, a long one and a short one. 这游戏有两个版本,一长一短。
  • When both versions of the story were collated,major discrepancies were found. 在将这个故事的两个版本对照后,找出了主要的不符之处。 来自《简明英汉词典》
3 criticized cd090bd19b91ceda44ac52b6b996b535     
vt.批评(criticize的过去式)v.评论,批评( criticize的过去式和过去分词 )
参考例句:
  • The decision was criticized by environmental groups. 这个决定受到了环保团体的批评。
  • The movie has been criticized for apparently legitimizing violence. 这部电影因明显地美化暴力而受到了指责。
4 ensemble 28GyV     
n.合奏(唱)组;全套服装;整体,总效果
参考例句:
  • We should consider the buildings as an ensemble.我们应把那些建筑物视作一个整体。
  • It is ensemble music for up to about ten players,with one player to a part.它是最多十人演奏的合奏音乐,每人担任一部分。
5 beloved DQey3     
adj./n.受爱戴的,敬爱的;爱人,被心爱的人
参考例句:
  • She longs for the early return of her beloved.她盼着心上人早日归来。
  • She is Tom's beloved wife.她是汤姆的爱妻。
6 alongside XLWym     
adv.在旁边;prep.和...在一起,在...旁边
参考例句:
  • There was a butcher's shop alongside the theatre.剧院旁边有一家肉店。
  • Alongside of him stood his uncle.他的身旁站着他叔叔。
7 helping 2rGzDc     
n.食物的一份&adj.帮助人的,辅助的
参考例句:
  • The poor children regularly pony up for a second helping of my hamburger. 那些可怜的孩子们总是要求我把我的汉堡包再给他们一份。
  • By doing this, they may at times be helping to restore competition. 这样一来, 他在某些时候,有助于竞争的加强。
8 Jewish tzEzJ     
adj.犹太人的,犹太民族的
参考例句:
  • The coin bears a Jewish symbol.硬币上有犹太标记。
  • They were two Jewish kids;I was friendly with both of them.他们是两个犹太小孩;我同他们都很要好。
9 gay sfOzP     
adj.同性恋的;色彩鲜艳的;n.(男)同性恋者
参考例句:
  • I don't know he was a gay person.我不知道他是同性恋者。
  • Spring comes round to the earth again and everything looks fresh and gay.春回大地,万象更新。
10 modernized 4754ec096b71366cfd27a164df163ef2     
使现代化,使适应现代需要( modernize的过去式和过去分词 ); 现代化,使用现代方法
参考例句:
  • By 1985 the entire railway network will have been modernized. 等到1985年整个铁路网就实现现代化了。
  • He set about rebuilding France, and made it into a brilliant-looking modernized imperialism. 他试图重建法国,使它成为一项表面华丽的现代化帝业。
11 imaginative qa3xq     
adj.富有想象力的,爱想象的
参考例句:
  • The imaginative child made up fairy stories.这个想像力丰富的孩子自己编神话故事。
  • Scott was an imaginative writer.司格特是位富于想象力的作家。
12 chili JOlzm     
n.辣椒
参考例句:
  • He helped himself to another two small spoonfuls of chili oil.他自己下手又加了两小勺辣椒油。
  • It has chocolate,chili,and other spices.有巧克力粉,辣椒,和其他的调味品。
13 artistic IeWyG     
adj.艺术(家)的,美术(家)的;善于艺术创作的
参考例句:
  • The picture on this screen is a good artistic work.这屏风上的画是件很好的艺术品。
  • These artistic handicrafts are very popular with foreign friends.外国朋友很喜欢这些美术工艺品。
14 opponent HIoxQ     
n.对手,敌手,反对者;adj.敌对的,反对的
参考例句:
  • The boxer gave his opponent a punch on the nose.这个拳击手朝他对手的鼻子上猛击一拳。
  • After a fierce struggle,he got a beat on his opponent.经过殊死的较量,他占了对手的上风。
15 amid 2LIyA     
prep.在…中间,在…之中,被…围绕
参考例句:
  • The government collapsed amid budget quarrels.政府因预算问题争吵不休而倒台。
  • This book was written amid many difficulties.这本书是在困难重重中写成的。
16 blossoms 4a7fbeb95296f374c3b1acde9d88157d     
n.(尤指果树的)花( blossom的名词复数 );花丛,花簇v.(植物)开花( blossom的第三人称单数 );发展;长成;变得更加健康(或自信、成功)
参考例句:
  • It was springtime and the slopes were ablaze with almond blossoms. 时当春季,怒放的扁桃花使那片山坡鲜红似火。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The spring comes and peach blossoms [flowers] are all open. 春天了,桃花都开了。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
17 rendered a8bc0d9bfe8eac095ac699937038a6be     
v.使( render的过去式和过去分词 );放弃;表达;提供(帮助等)
参考例句:
  • You have rendered a great service to the country. 你为国家做了一件大事。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • If he took control, they would be rendered virtually powerless. 如果由他来掌管,他们实际上就会丧失所有的权力。 来自《简明英汉词典》
18 transcripts 525c0b10bb61e5ddfdd47d7faa92db26     
n.抄本( transcript的名词复数 );转写本;文字本;副本
参考例句:
  • Like mRNA, both tRNA and rRNA are transcripts of chromosomal DNA. tRNA及rRNA同mRNA一样,都是染色体DNA的转录产物。 来自辞典例句
  • You can't take the transfer students'exam without your transcripts. 没有成绩证明书,你就不能参加转学考试。 来自辞典例句
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