The first performance of the ballet “The Nutcracker” took place on December 18,1982 in St. Petersburg
In Russia, a wooden toy for chopping nuts from the Hoffmann tale became famous precisely thanks to the ballet of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. From 1982 to the present time, “The Nutcracker” has turned into the most popular production. Today everyone knows the plot and characters of this fairy tale from childhood. Especially valuable and "elite" became the opportunity to attend Tchaikovsky's ballet at the Bolshoi Theater or the Mariinsky Theater on the New Year Eve.
For the first time, the Russian audience saw the production of “The Nutcracker” in St. Petersburg at the Mariinsky Theater - in the 19th century, this theater was the "cultural center" of the country. The two-act ballet-extravaganza was based on the fairy tale “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King”, and the legendary ballet soloist, choreographer and teacher Marius Petipa created the libretto. It is an amazing fact that real children danced the characters of children, Klara and Fritz at that time, now they are performed by adult artists. These children were the students of the St. Petersburg Imperial Theater School.
On the day of the premiere, Pyotr Ilyich prepared an unexpected surprise for the public. During the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, an incredibly beautiful “crystal” melody was heard from the orchestra, similar to the sound of drops of water in a fountain. The music, like the magic of snow tracery on thin glass, was bewitching and impressed the audience. Where did the unfamiliar but so beautiful sound come from? It was unclear even to professional musicians. It turned out that Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in one of his trips to France discovered a new musical instrument - celesta. Seemingly, the “curiosity” resembled a small piano, but had a special timbre and the sound of bells. The composer secretly brought the instrument to Russia and forbade anyone who knew about its existence from telling anyone, so the audience could hear the wonderful instrument only at the premiere of the ballet.
In “The Nutcracker”, his last ballet, Tchaikovsky addresses the same theme that was embodied in “Swan Lake” and “The Sleeping Beauty” - overcoming evil spells by the power of love. The composer goes even further along the path of symphonizing music, enriching it with all possible expressive means. Surprisingly naturally, the fusion of expressive and pictorial, theatricality and deepest psychologism takes place in his music.
We have prepared a musical selection for the premiere of the ballet “The Nutcracker” at the Mariinsky Theater. Digitized from Audio-technica vinyl record player, phonograph records: Introduction and March to the ballet “The Nutcracker”, Aprelevka Plant, “The Waltz of the Flowers” (Parts I and II), His Masters Voice.
The story of the ballet creation is in the section "Reviews".