Christmas culture – The Nutcracker Ballet

The Nutcracker is a ballet in two acts. The score is by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and is one of his greatest and best known. Each year ballet companies around the  world stage the ballet at Christmas time. After all, it is a Christmas story. The Australian Ballet has new production of The Nutcracker for late December 2016 and January 2017. Below is a summary of the story and below that a youtube clip of a stunning performance at Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg, December 2012.

THE NUTCRACKER STORY

It is Christmas Eve, and the Stahlbaums are having a marvellous party. Drosselmeyer the Magician amazes everyone with his magical dolls, who come to life and dance for the guests. At the end of the party Drosselmeyer hands out presents for all the children, including a Nutcracker doll for Clara, the daughter of the house.

That night, Clara creeps downstairs to check on her precious gift. As midnight strikes, magic is unloosed and the Nutcracker comes alive to fight with the Mouse King. Clara saves him by throwing her slipper at the Mouse King – and the Nutcracker is transformed into a handsome prince.

The Prince takes Clara to the Kingdom of Sweets, where the grateful inhabitants, led by the Sugar Plum Fairy, perform a series of delicious dances to delight Clara. Afterwards, the Prince whisks Clara home and she wakes up at the foot of the Christmas tree – but was it really all a dream?