Clara and her brother Fritz are sad to see the dolls being taken away, but Drosselmeyer has yet another toy for them: a wooden nutcracker carved in the shape of a little man, which the other children ignore. Clara immediately takes a liking to it, but Fritz accidentally breaks it. Clara is heartbroken, but Drosselmeyer fixes the nutcracker, much to everyone's relief.
The nutcracker appears to lead the soldiers, who are joined by tin soldiers, and by dolls who serve as doctors to carry away the wounded. As the seven-headed Mouse King advances on the still-wounded nutcracker, Clara throws her slipper at him, distracting him long enough for the nutcracker to stab him.
In the original libretto, the ballet's apotheosis "represents a large beehive with flying bees, closely guarding their riches". Just like Swan Lake, there have been various alternative endings created in productions subsequent to the original.
Tchaikovsky made a selection of eight of the numbers from the ballet before the ballet's December 1892 première, forming The Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a, intended for concert performance. The suite was first performed, under the composer's direction, on 19 March 1892 at an assembly of the Saint Petersburg branch of the Musical Society. The suite became instantly popular, with almost every number encored at its premiere, while the complete ballet did not begin to achieve its great popularity until after the George Balanchine staging became a hit in New York City. The suite became very popular on the concert stage, and was excerpted in Disney's Fantasia, omitting the two movements prior to the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy . The outline below represents the selection and sequence of the Nutcracker Suite made by the composer:
When godfather Drosselmeyer, a toymaker, arrives, he presents two life-size dolls to the family. He also gives Clara a beautiful Nutcracker that quickly becomes the hit of the party. Unfortunately, her younger brother breaks the Nutcracker in his youth and excitement of the night. Clara is heartbroken but satisfied when her godfather is able to repair the gift.
Drosselmeyer keeps the children and guests entertained with magic tricks and mechanical dolls. While Clara would love to have one of these dolls to keep for herself, she is instead presented with a wooden nutcracker soldier.
Snowflakes, sugarplums, naughty little boys, and magical dolls! The charm of the Holidays fascinates all audiences as Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida presents the classic ballet "The Nutcracker" to Tchaikovsky's popular score based on the tale of Ernest Hoffman. The critically acclaimed performance is choreographed and directed by renowned Ballet Master Vladimir Issaev.This awarded professional company features their own ballet stars performing the principal roles, as well as a community cast made up of local character artists and children. The engaging choreography- from the fun of the party scene- to the harrowing battle scene- to the enchanting kingdom of the sweets- is guaranteed to entertain any age. The Nutcracker is not only the most popular ballet enjoyed by audiences around the world during this time of the year but it also serves as an introduction to ballet for young audiences.This performance is on sale at full capacity without physical distancing limitations. Ticket purchasers will be notified of up-to-date Health & Safety Guidelines prior to each individual performance.
In Western countries, The Nutcracker has become perhaps the most popular of all ballets, performed primarily during the Christmas season. In the United States, especially since the 1960s, it has transcended its origins as a mere ballet or piece of classical music, becoming a part of American tradition almost as much as the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz. Countless cities across the U.S. now stage the ballet at Christmas time, and new telecasts, video versions and interpretations of the ballet now appear even more often than before. There are several versions of the ballet now on DVD that have never been telecast in the U.S. Its music, especially the music of the suite derived from the ballet, has become familiar to millions all over the world. And because of the ballet's fame, Hoffmann's original story on which it is based has also become well known, and has been made into an animated feature film several times.
Tchaikovsky made a selection of eight of the numbers from the ballet before the ballet's December 1892 premiere, forming The Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a, intended for concert performance. The suite was first performed, under the composer's direction, on 19 March 1892 at an assembly of the St. Petersburg branch of the Musical Society. The suite became instantly popular (according to Men of Music "every number had to be repeated"), but the complete ballet did not begin to achieve its great popularity until after the George Balanchine staging became a hit in New York City.
The story has been published in many book versions including colorful children-friendly versions. The plot of the ballet revolves around a German girl named Clara Stahlbaum or Clara Silberhaus. In some Nutcracker productions, Clara is called Marie; in others, she is known as Masha. (In Hoffmann's tale, the girl's name actually is Marie or Maria (equivalent to Masha in Russian), while Clara - or "Klärchen" - is the name of one of her dolls.)
Herr Drosselmeyer has brought to the party three life-size dolls, which each take a turn to dance. When the dances are done, Clara approaches Herr Drosselmeyer asking for her gift. It would seem that he is out of presents, and Clara, in some productions, runs to her mother in a fit of tears and disappointment. In others, she is still quite happy; in Baryshnikov's production, she gently hints to Drosselmeyer that she would like a toy.
The ending of the ballet in the Baryshnikov version is more melancholy than in the original 1892 production and in many other versions. Drosselmeyer appears during the adagio of the Pas de Deux, apparently trying to coax Clara back into reality, while she prefers to stay with the Nutcracker / Prince, with whom she is now deeply in love. At the end of the Adagio, she breaks away from Drosselmeyer and goes whirling back into the Prince's arms. Drosselmeyer apparently gives up and it would seem as if the Prince has triumphed, as he and Clara joyously join the others in the Final Waltz. But during the Apotheosis, the entire Royal Court, as well as the Mouse King, who makes a ghostly final appearance, begin to drift away, moving as if they were only mechanical dolls, and Clara searches frantically for her Nutcracker / Prince, who is suddenly nowhere to be found. Suddenly the palatial surroundings are gone and Clara and Drosselmeyer are left alone onstage; she, holding out her hands in supplication, and he, folding his arms, elaborately ignoring her, and walking away. Clara finds herself back in her own home; she walks to the window and gazes wistfully out at the falling snow.
Patrice Bart's version, available on DVD, created for the Berlin Staatsoper, and premiered there in 1999, reworks the story almost completely to have Clara (here called Marie) kidnapped by revolutionaries to the music of the mice attack. She is then adopted by the Stahlbaums, who, in most productions, are her real parents. There, she is snubbed and mistreated, and Drosselmeyer becomes her only friend. The Nutcracker himself hardly appears as a character before his transformation into a prince. At the Christmas party, Drosselmeyer himself performs the third of the dances usually performed by one of the life-sized dolls that he brings to the party in most versions of the ballet. When he brandishes a sword during the dance, Marie becomes quite uneasy, as if the memory of her kidnapping were being triggered by the experience. There are no mice in this version; instead the toys are attacked by what seem to be those same revolutionaries, who again try to carry Marie off, and the Nutcracker does not fight with them. Marie throws, not her shoe, but the actual Nutcracker at them, whereupon they disappear, the Nutcracker becomes life-size, and immediately turns into a prince. The music of the actual battle, having been played already during the kidnapping scene earlier in the ballet, is then omitted and the slow music that accompanies Marie's first dance with the Prince is heard. Drosselmeyer is made into a young man in this version, and he apparently serves at a sort of father figure-psychologist who helps Marie remember and overcome her long-buried memories of the trauma she endured by being kidnapped. This he does by bringing in the revolutionaries again, enabling Marie to drive them off by throwing her toy Nutcracker at them.
In the second act, to the same music that accompanies Marie's first duet with the Prince after the Nutcracker's transformation, Marie is joyously reunited with her real mother. Drosselmeyer and Marie's mother, it seems, are paired off as potential romantic partners, and at the same time, Marie and the Nutcracker / Prince are also romantically paired off. As in the Baryshnikov and Pacific Northwest Ballet productions, there are no Sugar Plum Fairy or Prince Koklyush; their dances are again performed by Marie and the Nutcracker / Prince. As in the Pacific Northwest Ballet production, the Dance of the Clowns is performed by children, and again, there is no Mother Ginger. The finale is unclear about Marie and the Prince's fate, but her mother blesses their apparently forthcoming marriage, after which Drosselmeyer suddenly produces another nutcracker, which emits a strange light from its eyes. Most of the dancers suddenly begin moving like mechanical dolls, and through a cloud of smoke, Marie is seen to be seemingly flying off happily with the Prince, Mary Poppins-like, airborne on a giant umbrella. 2b1af7f3a8