P. I. Tchaikovsky is considered to be Russia’s great symphonic composer. In his music he achieved a synthesis of the national musical language of Russia and the compositional forms of the western European Romantics. His most famous ballets enjoy a position of honor in the Classical Ballet repertoire on account of their melodic intensity and instrumental brilliance. In the fairy tale “The Nutcracker and the King of the Mice” written by the German Romantic E. T. A. Hoffmann and published in 1814, on which Tchaikovsky’s ballet is based, Christmas provides the realistic setting for a fantastic plot. Fiction and reality are woven together by means of strange and wondrous occurrences to produce a fascinating and unfathomable labyrinth. Both Hoffmann and Tchaikovsky, who began to compose the ballet in his fiftieth year, could identify with the literary figure of the watchmaker Drosselmeier, who gives order to his life through his work. In 1999, exactly 107 years – to the day – after the first performance in St. Petersburg, Patrice Bart’s choreography of Tchaikovsky’s worldwide success The Nutcracker was premiered at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin. Bart placed a prologue before the ballet in which Marie is abducted as a child and in which everything is placed in a modern context.
Filmed at The Mariinsky Theatre St.Petersburg, where it was first performed in 1892, comes this adult version of the Nutcracker. Worlds away from the traditional and warm versions popular at Christmas, this unconventional production, reinterpreted by Russian emigre and world-renowned avant-garde artist Mikhail Shemiakin, is a surreal, and at times disturbing, piece. Two of the Mariinsky's young stars, Leonid Sarafanov and Irina Golub, dance the main roles, and Valery Gergiev conducts.
Every year, the Berliner Philharmoniker hold a kind of classical-music fête with a bright, cheerful concert to end the season. In 2009 about 22,000 people had come together at the Berlin Waldbühne to enjoy the traditional summer picnic concert. The theme of the evening was “Russian rhythms”, and star conductor Sir Simon Rattle, the Berliner Philharmoniker and Yefim Bronfman, one of the most famous pianists in the world today, presented a superb selection of Russian music.
Mariinsky Theatre Musical Director, Valery Gergiev, conducts Tchaikovsky’s glorious score in this enchanting, traditional, Russian production of The Nutcracker. Vainonen’s stunning choreography is complemented by Simon Virsaladze’s wonderfully colourful designs, and the roles of Masha and her Nutcracker Prince are danced by two of the Mariinsky’s award-winning, international soloists, all of which make this as magical and memorable a Christmas treat as ever.
A masterpiece of classical dance, and a Christmas favourite with audiences everywhere, this Nutcracker is a magical version of the score by Tchaikovsky filmed at the Bolshoi Theatre. Since its première in Saint-Petersburg in 1892, The Nutcracker has been one of the most successful classical ballets and Tchaikovsky's score has become one of his most famous compositions. Yuri Grigorovich deals with Hoffmann s fantastic imagery and takes ideas from Marius Petipa s scenario: battle of the mice, snowflakes flurry, character dances executed by the dolls that came to life… The most talented soloists of the Bolshoi Ballet appear in this production including Nina Kaptsova (Marie) and Artem Ovcharenko (the Nutcracker Prince) and Denis Savin (Drosselmeyer).
This all-time ballet favourite, in which young Clara is swept into a fantasy adventure when one of her Christmas presents comes to life, is at its most enchanting in Peter Wright's glorious production - as fresh as ever in its 25th year. Tchaikovsky's ravishing score, period designs by Julia Trevelyan Oman (including an ingenious magical Christmas tree), an exquisite Sugar Plum Fairy (Miyako Yoshida) and chivalrous Prince (Steven McRae), the mysterious Drosselmeyer (Gary Avis) and vibrant dancing by The Royal Ballet make for a captivating performance.