World premiere: 6 December 1892, Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg
Premiere at The Hermitage theatre: 13 January 2007
At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries Russian ballet entered into the most brilliant period of its history. Ballet reform, which Pyotr Tchaikovsky began in "Swan Lake" and proceeded with "The Sleeping Beauty", was completed in "The Nutcracker".
After triumph of "The Sleeping Beauty" on Ivan Vsevolozhsky (Director of The Imperial Theatres) initiative triumvirate of The great genius created "The Nutcracker": Pyotr Tchaikovsky composed the music to the ballet, Marius Petipa wrote its stage direction on the basis of E. T. A. Hoffman’s fairy-tale "The Nutcracker and The Mouse King" and Lev Ivanov created choreography of the ballet.
The first performance of the ballet "The Nutcracker" took place on the 6th of December 1892 on the stage of The Mariinsky theatre. But this ballet has been changing all through the 20th century. Why?
Pyotr Tchaikovsky appreciated outstanding achievements of renowned choreographer Marius Petipa. But as it turned out music for "The Nutcracker" was rather difficult for the stage realization because, firstly, the composer was seeking to create this music as a symphony but not a ballet music and, secondly, level of the ballet theatre of that period of time wasn’t high as level of the symphony music. Marius Petipa didn’t want to retail the story of family party and gave his pupil, Lev Ivanov, the opportunity to make his own choreography of the ballet but according to his stage direction. That’s why a great number of choreographers get opportunity in future to give theirs own interpretations to this ballet. After Lev Ivanov such famous choreographers as Alexander Gorsky, Fedor Lopukhov, Vasily Vainonen, Yury Grigorovich and others were among them. Everybody of them took in consideration of experience of previous choreographers and offered a new version of world-famous ballet on the thrilling and tragical music of the great composer.
At the Hermitage theatre premiere of "The Nutcracker" was on the 13th of January 2007. Stage direction of Vasily Vainonen was performed to the verdict of audience. Veronica Ivanova and Nikita Shcheglov, Natalia Bashkirtseva were performing in parts of Masha and Nutcracker. Colorful celebration, fantastic tricks, beautiful dolls, The Christmas-tree with bright lights, aerial dance of snowflakes and touching story of Masha and Nutcracker didn’t remain the spectators in indifference.
A Hall in the Herr Stahlbaum’s house. Guests are arriving to the Christmas Eve party. Drosselmeyer, an inventor and toy master loved by children, is among the guests. He prepared wonderful gift for them – The Nutcracker, a toy for cracking the nuts. Children are impatiently waiting for the beginning of the celebrations. Long-expecting moment comes and The Christmas-tree with the bright lights appears before the guests. Suddenly Drosselmeyer appears in a costume of a magician. He does wonderful tricks but then takes his mask and children recognize him. Drosselmeyer tells a story of his gift, The Nutcracker.
"Once upon a time in a faraway kingdom King. Queen and little Princess Perlipat were living. But in cave of the Palace The Mouse king with the hundreds of mice were living too. Little Princess was very beautiful but very spoiled child. And one day she became tease the Mouse king. He became angry and turned her into the ugly girl. There was only one chance to remove the spell from the Princess: if a Beautiful Prince cracked the magic nut Krakatuck, the spell would fall down. One day The Beautiful Prince came and cracked the nut and the miracle came true - The Princess again became beautiful! But in revenge The Mouse King Turned The Beautiful Prince into The Nutcracker."
Masha is charming with sad story of the doll and she ties a blue ribbon to him and gives him a rank of Field Marshal.
Franz, Masha’s brother, appears in the Hall. He’s interested in new doll. But Masha doesn’t give him a doll. Franz takes away the Nutcracker and the head comes off in his hands. Drosselmeyer quickly mends the doll. Masha cuddles her favorite doll.
The Hall again fills of noisy merriment. But the party comes to end. After the last dance of the ceremony (grosfather) guests leave The Herr’s Stahlbaum’s house.
Masha rocks to sleep The Nutcracker and falls asleep.
The night. The Hall with the Christmas tree floods with the moonlight. Masha awakes from the strange noise. Suddenly she hears rustle and scratching. Masha get a terrible fright! She wants to run away! But suddenly the clock is striking and the Hall is filling with hundreds of mice headed by The Mouse King. They want to ravage The Christmas tree.
And suddenly The Nutcracker becomes alive. Fearlessness he blocks the way to the mice. But the Mice appeared again and again and rush to attack. The Nutcracker leads the tin soldiers into the battle. The Nutcracker fights with The Mouse King. Only one moment and The Mouse King can win! Masha is despair! Overcoming her fear she throws a candle at The Mouse King, he’s looking back and The Nutcracker takes this opportunity and defeats The Mouse King. Mice disappear. The Hall become empty and only one Nutcracker lies still on the floor.
Suddenly miracle happens: Masha becomes adult and turns into the Princess and The Nutcracker turns into the Beautiful Prince. He is coming to meet Masha. The walls disappear and they find their selves under the vault of heaven. Snow is falling and snowflakes are whirling in a magic dance.
Magic Palace Konfeturenburg. Masha and Prince-Nutcracker arrive to the Palace. Fairy Drazhe and Prince Orshad with theirs suite greet the guests.
Everybody thank Masha for Prince-Nutcracker’s saving. Fairy Drazhe announces beginning of celebration to honor of Prince and Masha. They are delighted. They dance and celebrate with others.
But unfortunately celebration comes to end and Masha and Prince-Nutcracker have to leave the magic kingdom.
A Hall with the Christmas tree in the Herr Stahlbaum’s house. Masha wakes up and realizes that everything happened was only a wonderful dream. She is only a liitle girl again. And Nutcracker, a little toy, lies in her hands.
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