Pyotr Tchaikovsky

The Nutcracker, or Another Christmas Story...

Ballet in two acts

Recommended age 12+


Libretto: Marius Petipa based on Ernest Hoffman's fairytale The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, in Aleksandra Tikhomirova's version
Choreography and staging: recipient of the Francysk Skaryna Medal Aleksandra Tikhomirova
Musical director: Honoured Artist of Ukraine Viktor Ploskina
Designer: Yuri Kuper
Lighting: Irina Vtornikova
Conductor: Honoured Art Worker of the Republic of Belarus  Nikolai Koliadko

Running time: 2 hours 5 minutes with one interval
Premiere: 29 March 2013


Act I
Christmas Eve. A quiet winter night. A girl is seen in a window of a luxurious house; she blows hard to warm up the glass covered with fancy snow patterns, rubs them with her fist and stares into the distance. Her look hides joyous expectation of a miracle, interest and excitement of a child who is about to meet something unknown, mysterious and incredibly wonderful. 
The girl’s name is Masha. She is a daughter of the Stalbaums who receive guests this night. They are busy preparing for the party, decorating a Christmas tree and wrapping up presents for the children. Fritz, Masha’s brother, is eager to sneak into the room with the Christmas tree, but all his attempts to pierce the Nurse’s defence are in vain. 
Guests arrive. Godfather Drosselmeier, an odd old man, toymaker and a good friend of the children, comes last. Everybody looks forward to seeing the lights turned on and is excited about giving and getting gifts. The long-awaited moment comes, and the celebration starts! 
When the party is in full swing the grandfather clock with an owl suddenly begins to move! Everybody freezes in amazement. To their surprise, Drosselmeier appears out of the clock wearing a time costume. He has prepared a surprise for the children: it’s a performance with his participation. The Ballerina and the Toy Soldier, toys that have magically come to life, tell their story which amazes the children, and they want to play with the miraculous toys, but they disappear. 
To comfort the children, Drosselmeier gives them the wooden Nutcracker. Nobody likes the awkward funny man, and they all make fun of the ugly toy except Masha. 
The naughty and mischievous Fritz chaffs his sister, snatches the Nutcracker out of her hands and breaks it. The toymaker drives the boy away and tries to repair it. Masha consoles her favourite toy and rocks it gently, but her restless brother and his friends go on frightening the girl. 
The party continues: the adults start a masquerade and dance the ceremonious and fairly funny Grossvater Tanz with mice masks in their hands. All the children like the adults’ prank. All of them except for Masha. 
The party is over, and the guests leave. The house drifts into a sleep. Only Masha cannot fall asleep. She returns to the celebration hall bathed in moonlight to see her dear wounded Nutcracker. The clock strikes midnight.
All of a sudden the clock owl comes to life and flaps its wings. The girl recognizes her godfather Drosselmeier in the owl, but now he’s a powerful wizard and a sorcerer rather than a kind magician. What does the night have in store for the girl? 
With a wave of the godfather’s hand, the room changes and fills with mysterious shadows. But what is this? The shadows turn into mice masks that have come to life! Hordes of mice fill the room led by Drosselmeier himself in the aspect of the Mouse King. 
The revived toy soldiers and doll ballerinas raise the alarm. A fight starts between the toys and the mice. The army of the toys is headed by Masha with the Nutcracker in her hands. She courageously joins the fight, but the forces aren’t equal. Is seems that the mice will win a victory in a short while. Having lost her strength, Masha falls down. Everything stands still.
Suddenly the wooden Nutcracker turns into the charming Prince who stands up for the girl and her world. The masquers disappear. Drosselmeier returns to his original appearance and introduces Masha to the Prince. The walls of the room disappear, and Masha and the Prince whirl around the fairy tale snowy fir tree in a snowy dance under the starry dome of the sky. 
A blizzard gets up – restless Drosselmeier keeps on trying his goddaughter. But nothing can separate them. The blizzard abates, and Drosselmeier takes Masha and the Prince to the World of Dream, the Land of Fantasies.

Act II 
A balloon brings Masha and the Prince to the foot of a giant fir. Christmas tree decorations come to life and take them to their wonderful realm. The fight with the mice ended in victory, but it’s not the finish as there are new trials. Will the sweethearts overcome them?
Trying the depth and strength of their feeing, Drosselmeier reveals the world of alluring temptations to Masha and the Prince: Spanish toreadors impress Masha with their handsomeness and bravery; Eastern beauties fill the Prince with delicious languor; Chinese dancers try to teach Masha their complicated pas; Russian punches involve the Prince in their rollicking exuberant dance, and a cavalier and a charming mademoiselle, both French, make the sweethearts feel giddy. 
The World of Pleasures is fantastic, but their faithfulness and gentle care about each other help Masha and the Prince resist all temptations! Together they continue their tour of the Land of Fantasies and reach the destination: to the sounds of waltz, Drosselmeier brings his godchildren to the wedding ceremony. Masha and the Prince perform the rite of betrothal in the twinkle of stars and mysterious dim glow of candles. The whole fairy world joins them at that moment of real happiness. 
It’s splendid but temporary, and a new life holds so much in store. Masha will have to walk through life without her caring godfather, toymaker, and without her numerous friends. All the past will become a recollection in the winkling of an eye, and the Dream will remain just a dream!
Having matured, Masha wakes up by the window with the wooden Nutcracker in her hands. Was it a dream or reality? There’s no answer! Her friends are in the mist of her past, and they will always be near, but she will walk alone into the adult world. Goodness knows, maybe, it is invented by the wag Drosselmeier, too?