“The Nutcracker” is one of Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s most famous compositions and one of the most renowned ballet scores in the world. As a base for the libretto served E.T.A. Hoffman’s story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” in the version popularised by A. Dumas as “The Nutcracker.” Little girl Marie (also sometimes called Clara, in the original the name of her favourite doll) is intrigued by a bland and seemingly dull toy, the nutcracker. The fascination results in a wonderful fantastic dream. Marie-Masha dreams about a mysterious travel through colourful landscapes of the Land of Sweets, dolls coming to life, anthropomorphic animals and plants. Thanks to the fairytale-like themes, the music and the choreography are really magical—like the famous Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.
It’s a winter evening on a Christmas Eve. In the home of little Masha everybody’s getting ready for a party. Among the guests there’s Herr Drosselmeyer, Masha’s godfather, who invites her to his doll workshop. Masha’s delighted in his lifelike, colourful toys, and especially fond is she of an awkward, ungainly nutcracker. Drosselmeyer tells the girl a melancholy tale about a mysterious foreign land. In a kingdom there was once a beautiful princess, turned by the evil Mice into a monster—she can only be rescued by a boy, who’s got a… tough nut to crack. When a prince finally arrives and cracks the nutshell, he offers the nut to the princess and turns her back to her real form. The Mice take revenge on the boy turning him into a Nutcracker. Touched by the story, Masha falls asleep, still holding the nutcracker into her arms. And she dreams a dream: the christmas tree grows, Masha turns into an adult, and the toys are alive. The Nutcracker gets attacked by an army of Mice and he tries to protect himself bravely, and a company of leaden soldiers comes to the rescue. With the help of cannons and Masha, they win. The Nutcracker turns into a Prince and with Masha as a Princess they travel together through the Land of Sweets. They come across several obstacles and get through every one. The characters they encounter are animated by Drosselmeyer. The whole land celebrates the Prince and Princess. Everybody rejoys and dances. The ballet performs the dances: Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, Spanish Dance, Arabian Dance, Chinese Dance, Russian Dance, Dance of the Reed Flutes, and the famous Waltz of the Flowers.