The Mariinsky (Kirov Ballet) Theatre
Music: Pyotr Tchaikovsky
Set, costume and production design: Mihail Chemiakin
Choreography: Kirill Simonov (2001)
Conductor: Mikhail Agrest
Libretto and stage plan: Marius Petipa adapted: Mihail Chemiakin after the tale by E. T. A. Hoffmann
Musical Director: Valery Gergiev
Lighting design: Vladimir Lukasevich
Assistant to Mr Chemiakin: Andrei Voitenko
World premiere of Mihail Chemiakin´s version: 12 February 2001, Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg
Running time: 2 hours 10 minutes
The plot follows the fairly tale of E. Goffman. The Christmas Day in the house of Stahlbaums ends with Masha, the daughter of the family dreaming about the war of her dolls with the army of the Rat Emperor. The Nutcracker wins over the hated mice and turns into a fairy prince. The Prince and Masha are happy.
Theatre address: Theatralnaya sq., 1
ACT I - The house of Herr Praesident and Frau Silberhaus
Relatives decorate the family Christmas tree. The eldest of the children, Marianne, is sent to fetch the rest, who arrive to find the sparkling sight of the tree with its decorations, and all the family gathered, and all those presents!
While the cousins play the piano, the children receive their toys to a sprightly march, and begin to play with them. Their merriment is halted, however by the chiming of the owl-topped clock, which heralds the arrival of Herr Drosselmayer, an old Town Councilman, who is of a mysterious appearance, but a loving nature. He has brought gifts for the children, too, and chiefly for Clara, the Silberhaus' daughter, and her brother Fritz, for he is their godfather. The Councillor brings some very odd-looking packages, a cabbage and a meat pie, from which issue a Harlequin and a Columbine doll, and two snuffboxes from which a vivandiere (a military saleswoman) and a soldier appear. The miraculous dolls are too precious to stand rough play, and the father orders them to a place of honor in the study for safekeeping.
Clara and Fritz are heart-broken to see their lovely toys taken from them, and begin to weep. But Drosselmayer has another surprise for them hidden inside his coat - a beautifully-made, if comical-looking, nutcracker! The children are overjoyed, but in his enthusiasm, Fritz tries to crack walnuts with the beautiful nutcracker, and breaks it, it having been made for hazelnuts. Clara is horrified, and takes up her wounded beloved toy, and cares for it as if it were a real little man, putting it safe in her favorite doll's bed, and covering it. She cautions Fritz and the boys to keep the noise down so that her nutcracker may fall peacefully to sleep.
The parents order the furniture all moved to the sides so that the evening may conclude with a traditional "Grossvater" (Grandfather) dance, at the conclusion of which the guests make their departures. Clara asks her father if she may take her sick nutcracker to bed with her. His permission is refused, and Marianne takes the children to their rooms. The lights in the drawing-room are put out.
As moonlight streams through the frost-covered windows, Clara reappears in her nightgown, resolved to nurse the poor nutcracker back to health. Just as she reaches the little bed, the clock strikes midnight, and she looks up to see - the owl replaced by Drosselmayer, who flaps the bottoms of his coat like the wings of the owl in whose place he stands. The room becomes filled with mice! Clara tries to hide behind the nutcracker's bed.
The moonlight takes on a magical shimmer, as the little girl shrinks to the size of her toys, and the Christmas tree seems to tower over her like a gigantic building.
The mice encounter the pickets of the toy soldier guards, the stuffed-rabbit drummers beat To Arms. The Gingerbread soldiers move to repel the attack of the mice and are eaten! The mice squeak their cheers as their King arrives on the battlefield. The Nutcracker, still wounded, rises from his bed to take command of the situation. He recalls the toys, and recruits the dolls to be army doctors, to heal the wounded, who bravely rush back into battle. He calls up his reserves, the boxes of tin soldiers, who cannot be eaten by the mice. They form a square around Clara and their commander, and repel the charges of the mice. Finally, the Mouse-King and the Nutcracker meet in single combat. Weakened by his earlier wound, he is about to fall to his enemy, when Clara takes off her slipper and tosses it at the Mouse-King, distracting him so that the Nutcracker may disable him and send the mice packing.
As the mice retreat, the Nutcracker kneels before Clara, and, upon arising, is shown to have been transformed into a handsome prince, a little older than she. He bids her follow him, and they walk through the Christmas tree, which tranforms into a beautiful moonlit forest of evergreens. As Clara and the Nutcracker Prince walk through the forest, snowflakes begin to fall all around them.
Act II - The Palace of Sweets in the Kingdom of Confiturembourg
The beautiful and wondrous Kingdom of Confections is readied for the reception of the Prince and Clara, who arrive in a shell-boat, drawn by dolphins, down a river of attar of roses. They are greeted by the regent of the land, the Sugar Plum Fairy, who has been ruling in the name of the Prince, against the day of his return.
The benevolent spirit asks of the exploits of the newly-arrived Prince who recounts the story of the Battle with the Mice to the kingdom, and hails Clara
as the heroine who saved his life. He then introduces her to his little sisters, who are beautiful little dolls studded with gems. They greet her warmly when he tells them of her great bravery.
At table is brought, and a chocolate service is produced; Clara and the Prince are seated in order to watch the celebration ordered for their arrival.
Chocolate from Spain is served.
Coffee from Arabia is brought.
There is Tea in the Chinese taste.
Jesters in candy-cane stripes dance a Russian dance, with hoops.
Marzipan shepherdesses from Denmark who look like Chelsea China figures, play on their mirliton-flutes.
Mother Ginger and her Children are popular French bonbons
36 flowers made of cake icing dance a grand ballabile.
The Sugar Plum Fairy and her cavalier end the entertainment with a Grand Pas de Deux with magical effects.
A Grand Waltz for the entire kingdom ensues, after which the scene is transformed into illuminated fountains and a gigantic beehive is shown, with flying bees guarding the riches of the miraculous kingdom, over which Clara and her Prince reign forever.
Sun, 26 May 19:00
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