The Nutcracker’s music score became an integral part of culture and is counted among the most precious gems of Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s heritage.
Since the very birth of this music in 1891, generations of production directors have been tackling a most challenging task — creating a ballet that would be both a fairytale and a philosophical poem at the same time, interesting for children and adults alike. The job is all the more daunting since this particular ballet is one of the most beloved plays across the world. It is extremely popular in a lot of countries, especially during the December festive season. Every year, thousands of new Tchaikovsky connoisseurs keep delving into the magical realm of dreams and faerie adventures.
The choreographer Vasili Vainonen created his own version of The Nutcracker in 1934. The premiere took place in Leningrad, at the Kirov State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet (now renamed into Mariinsky Theatre), and turned out to be an ideal performance for kids. Vainonen’s ballet had unbelievable magic tricks, brightly coloured dolls, and a Christmas tree with sparkling festive lights, which had been designed by the art director Vladimir Dmitriev. But at the same time, the choreographer filled the ballet with philosophical musings about the impossibility of reaching ideal happiness, and saturated it with romantic undertones that changed a run-of-the mill kids’ show into an all-time classic of the twentieth century.