The Nutcracker at Christmas
One of the traditions of Christmas is seeing the Ballet performance of The Nutcracker.
The Nutcracker was first performed in 1892 in Saint Petersburg, the Ballet was inspired by the story of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by E.T.A Hoffman. The ballet was choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov with a score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
The story of The Nutcracker follows Clara at her home, it is Christmas Eve and she is surrounded by family and friends in the parlour next to the Christmas Tree which they are in awe from the sparkle of the candles and decorations. As the party is in full bloom with presents being handed out to all the children, Clara’s Godfather Drosselmeyer arrives who is a talented toy maker. He shows some of the gifts for the children which include 4 lifelike dolls who dance. When the dolls are put away Clara is disappointed but Drosselmeyer pulls out another toy for them which is a wooden Nutcracker, Clara is enchanted but when another child breaks it she becomes heartbroken.
During the night while everyone is asleep Clara goes to admire her beloved Nutcracker, but as the clock strikes midnight the magic begins as the Nutcracker comes to life to partake in a battle between an army of Gingerbread Soldiers and mice led by the Mouse King. The Toys become alive to help carry the wounded, but the Mouse King seeing the Nutcracker is wounded begins to mound an attack to capture him, Clara throws a slipper at the Mouse Kind to distract him, allowing the Nutcracker the upper hand.
As the mice have retreated from the battle front due to their wounded Mouse King, the Nutcracker becomes transformed into a handsome Prince. The Nutcracker leads Clara through a Moonlit Pine Forest which snowflakes dance around them welcoming them into his Kingdom, where the 1st Act ends.
As the 2nd Act begins Clara and the Prince Nutcracker arrive in the Land of Sweets ruled by the Sugar Plum Fairy. She has been protecting the lands for the Prince waiting for his return, he shares the story how he was saved from the Mouse King by Clara which allowed him to transform back into his self. To celebrate the courage of this young Heroine a celebration of sweets from around the world is displayed with chocolate from Spain, coffee from Arabia, tea from China and candy canes from Russia. Danish shepherdesses perform on their flutes and Mother Ginger plays with her children (the Polichinelles) as the appear from under her huge skirt to dance. A string of beautiful flower dance a waltz in their joy. The conclude the performance from all the sweets the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier perform a breathtaking dance.
The final waltz is performed by all the sweets in all the land, which afterwards with affection the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Prince say good bye to Clara as she goes back to her own world after her adventures with the Nutcracker Prince.
The Nutcracker is such a traditional Ballet to see, it has enchanting music with charming dances all topped off with the most delicious costumes.
The Nutcracker is performed every year in London either at the Royal Opera House, the English National Ballet or even the choice of the Royal Albert Theatre. You really are spoiled for choice, my personal favourite is at the Coliseum which is performed by the English National Ballet, I enjoyed it so much every time.
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms has hit the screens this year, it is the most wonderful vision feast with extraordinary sets and the most elaborate Costume Designs. It is the cinemas most wonderful homage to the stories and to the Ballets making it one of the best films to watch this Christmas Season.
These photos that I have shared throughout the post are from when Liberty in London has the most wonderful Christmas Window Display that was inspired from the Ballet. With miniature sets, wooden ballerinas, puppets and Christmas trees it has been once of the best Christmas Windows they have ever produced, so much so I wish it was there every year.