For many of us, The Nutcracker is the integral part of the festive winter season. Vasili Vainonen’s version of The Nutcracker, first staged specially for the Mariinsky Theatre in 1934 and now considered the ‘canon’ iteration of this show, has been the pride and joy of Yacobson Ballet’s repertoire for several decades.
The Nutcracker, as told by Vainonen, is not just a fable about the battle of Good Versus Evil, but also an engrossing coming-of-age story. Vainonen deviated from Hoffmann’s dark imagery, intending to present the story’s events as if through Masha’s eyes: the entire ballet is a dream seen by an impressionable child after a New Year’s party. This dream mirrors reality, while also adding countless new colours through the power of a little girl’s imagination. As a result, Vainonen draws a clearly defined line between the physical world and the fantasy; Tchaikovsky’s music, so different in the ‘real’ and ‘storybook’ parts of the ballet, further helps achieve this.
In 2023, Andrian Fadeev invited People’s Artist of Russia Nikolay Tsiskaridze to our theatre in order to breathe a new life into this classical production. Tsiskaridze, committed to maintaining the Russian ballet heritage, has cleaned up the parts of the choreography that made it too much ‘of its time’, presenting the beloved fairy-tale in a spectacular modern light.