Libretto by Yuri Grigorovich after the fairy-tale of the same name by
Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann, ideas from the scenario by Marius Petipa
Choreographer: Yuri Grigorovich Designer: Simon Virsaladze Music
Director: Gennadi Rozhdestvensky
Presented with one interval.
Guests are gathering for a Christmas party at the
Stahlbaum home. Among them are Drosselmeyer, godfather to Marie and Fritz, the
Stahlbaums’ children. He has brought them a wonderful present: a funny
The children wait with impatience for when at long last they will be shown
the Christmas tree and the presents. The long awaited moment comes: the
handsomely adorned Christmas tree is presented to the assembled company.
Drosselmeyer suddenly appears disguised as a magician: he is not recognized
by the children. Their unknown guest’s ability to make their toys come alive
delights the children but, as everything that is clad in mystery, it
involuntarily arouses their fear. In order to calm them down, Drosselmeyer takes
off his mask and the children now recognize their beloved godfather. Marie
wants to play with the wonderful dolls which have come alive, but they have
already been tidied away. To comfort Marie, Drosselmeyer gives her the
Nutcracker-Doll. Marie takes a great liking to this awkward, funny creature.
Marie’s brother Fritz, who is a great tease and very naughty,
accidentally breaks the doll. With great tenderness, Marie comforts her
injured Nutcracker and rocks it backwards and forwards. Fritz and his friends
now put on mouse masks and tease poor Marie.
The guests appear from an adjoining room. After the
final, ceremonial Grossvater dance, they all leave. At night the room where
the Christmas tree stands is bathed in moonlight. It looks mysterious and full
of magical secrets. Overcoming her fears, Marie has come to the room to visit
her ‘sick’ Nutcracker-Doll. She kisses the doll and rocks it.
Drosselmeyer now appears. But instead of her kind godfather, he has turned
into a wizard. At a wave of his hand everything around them is transformed: the
walls of the room slide back, the Christmas tree starts to grow. And all the
toys come alive and grow together with the tree.
Suddenly, mice creep out from under the floorboards, led by the Mouse
King. The dolls are panic-stricken and thrown into confusion. The Nutcracker’s
quick wits and bravery save the day: lining up the lead soldiers, he boldly
leads them out to do battle with the mice forces.
However, the forces are unequal, the advantage is on the side of the evil
mice. The Nutcracker is left alone to face the Mouse King and his suite. Marie
is out of her mind with worry over the danger that threatens her doll. At this
very moment, Drosselmeyer hands her a lighted candle and she throws it at the
mice who scurry away helter-skelter.
The battle field empties. The only person left here is the Nutcracker who
lies without moving on the floor. Marie, together with the dolls, hurries to his
rescue. And now a miracle occurs…Before Marie stands a handsome youth, the
Nutcracker-Prince. He walks forward to meet her.
The walls of the house disappear. Marie and her
friends are standing under a star-studded sky, by a fairy-tale Christmas tree.
Snowflakes go round in a magical dance. Marie and her Nutcracker-Prince, beckon,
as if to a beautiful dream, to the twinkling star at the top of the Christmas
tree. They climb into a magic boat and set off for the top of the tree. The
dolls follow behind them.
Marie and Nutcracker-Prince are sailing in their magic boat through the
Christmas tree kingdom. There are their friends, the dolls with them. The
shining star is getting closer and closer. They are just about to reach the top
of the tree when they are suddenly attacked by the mice and the Mouse King who
have crept up behind them. Once again, the Nutcracker-Prince goes boldly into
battle. Horribly frightened, Marie and the dolls watch the fight. The
Nutcracker-Prince vanquishes the enemy. Joyous victory celebrations are
underway. The dolls dance, the candles burn even brighter, the Christmas tree
comes alive. The evil mice have been defeated. Marie and the Nutcracker-Prince
are radiant with happiness - they have reached the kingdom of their dreams! But
it appears all this was just a dream. Christmas Eve is over and with it all
wonderful reveries. Marie, still in the thrall of the fabulous dream, is sitting
at home by the Christmas tree, with the Nutcracker-Doll on her lap.