Home Theaters Moscow Russian National Ballet Theatre 4 August 2018, 19:00 - The Nutcracker
2018 | Saturday
Classical ballet
Russian National Ballet Theatre, Moscow
Duration: 2 hours
World premiere: Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, 1892

Every year during the Christmas season, thousands of children and their parents visit the theatre to see The Nutcracker, probably the all-time favourite in holiday entertainment. The Nutcracker premiered at the Maryinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia on December 18, 1892. The choreography was by Lev Ivanov after Marius Petipa, who fell ill before beginning to choreograph and passed on his choreographic plan to Ivanov, and the score was composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Italian ballerina Antoinetta Dell’Era and Russian premiere danseur Pavel Gerdt performed the lead roles of The Sugar Plum Fairy and Prince Coqueluche. The ballet was performed as a double premiere with Tchaikovsky’s final opera Iolanta. Tchaikovsky was initially reluctant to write the score for The Nutcracker finding the libretto based on E.T.A. Hoffmann’s children’s tale, The Nutcracker and the King of the Mice, lacking in fantasy. Nevertheless, this production would ultimately become Tchaikovsky’s most popular work.

Composer: Peter Tchaikovsky

Orchestra: Symphony orchestra of the Summer Ballet Seasons

Classical Ballet in 2 acts

Ballet in 2 Acts, based on E.T.A. Hoffmann’s tale

Tchaikovsky’s fame had spread all over the world by the 90-ies of the XIX century. Ballet reform, performed by the composer, began by him in “The Swan Lake”, transformed in “The Sleeping Beauty” into the choreographic symphony, was finished in creating “The Nutcracker”.

The first night of “The Nutcracker” took place on the same day with “Iolantha” – December,6, 1892, in Mariinsky Theatre. “The Nutcracker” is due for its birth to the leader of emperor theatres I.A. Vsevolzhsky. At the end of January 1890, after the ballet “Sleeping Beauty” had a triumphant success, the idea of a unit performance appeared. It was to combine two one-act plays – an opera “Iolantha” and a ballet “The Nutcracker” on one and the same day. So, a new performance of 1891-92 seasons was to become a “Russian pearl”. It was to be a fairy performance, with numerous findings in decorations and costumes. P.I. Tchaikovsky appreciated this form of a new synthetic performance.

“Iolantha” and “The Nutcracker” – are the last opuses of the composer for a musical theatre. They are called “the spiritual testament” of the genious. It was to preserve in soles faithfulness and courage, desire for happiness and humanity.


Act One

It’s the Christmas Eve. Snow flakes are falling slowly on the ground, creating a world of beauty and happiness. Council Shtalbaum’s family is looking forward to the party. The children – Mary, Frantz and Louise – make snow balls. Angels carry them in their hands. Fritz tries to hold a big ball, but doesn’t succeed. But Mary does – she is an amazing girl with pure sole.

A court council Dresselmeier is Shtalbaum’s family friend. He is absolutely unpredictable. He is known as a talented toy master. His Christmas presents are very peculiar this time as well. With the help of angels he makes a funny doll – the Nutcracker. It’s to be a present to Mary.

And here is the present for the whole family – it’s a wonderful castle, with toy children, dames and gentlemen inside it.

One moment – and the Christmas tree is shining brightly. One wave of Dresselmeier’s hand – and everything around is alive. Fritz, Mary and Louise are happy. But there is no end to Drosselmeier’s fantasy. He makes a puppet performance for the children. It is about the Prince, the Princess and the Rat King. Then characters of a play about Petrushka appear from behind the screen. Everybody watches the performance with interest, until Petrushka falls down, killed by Arab’s sable. Mary runs up to the puppet and tries to bring it back to life.

Suddenly all puppets disappear, and Drosselmeier takes a new present. It’s the Nutcracker. Mary likes this clumsy funny creature. But Fritz is also eager to play with its strange toy. Suddenly the Nutcracker breaks into pieces. What has happened? What should they do? How nice it is, that wonderful toy master is here – the Nutcracker is repaired again.

The party is coming to its end. Mary goes to bed with her favourite puppet. She takes it to her hands, sings her a lullaby song and falls asleep herself. She sees little children from a toy-castle and angels in her dreams.

Suddenly there is noise from outside. It’s the Rat King at the head of its Rat army. It’s midnight. Mary hides. Everything around changes – the soldiers follow the Nutcracker, their leader. The battle begins. Mary sees that the Nutcracker is in death danger; she is determined to save him. She throws her shoe to the Rat King. Everything disappears. Only the Nutcracker is still at the battle field. Only a miracle can bring him back to life… And this miracle is performed by angels. The Nutcracker revives and turns into Prince Charming. He invites Mary to his Kingdom. The star shining on the top of the Christmas tree will show them the way and help to overcome all obstacles.

Act Two

Mary and the Prince in a balloon find themselves in a wonderful country. Angels are waiting for them.

Suddenly rats attack the Nutcracker, but he wins the victory.

Mary and the Nutcracker are at an amazing party. The sounds of fanfares salute them. Friends present them with candies. It seems, there will be no end to the party, but… it’s only a dream.

We see a street again. Snowflakes are falling to the ground. Suddenly a snow ball in Mary’s hands opens as a flower, and the girls sees a puppet in it. It’s the Nutcracker! The holiday is just beginning! Merry Christmas! 

Casts & Credits

Artistic Director: Evgeny Amosov
Artistic Director: Vladimir Moiseyev
Artistic Director: Evgeny Amosov
Artistic Director: Vladimir Moiseyev