It’s Christmas Eve and Clara Stahlbaum and her family are hosting a huge Christmas party with lots of food, drink and presents. Clara’s mysterious godfather Drosselmeyer arrives and gives Clara a special Christmas present, a beautiful wooden Nutcracker doll.
Clara’s brother Fritz is jealous of the gift – they fight and the Nutcracker is broken.
Drosselmeyer, who is very good at magic tricks and inventions, mends the doll. Later that night, Clara creeps downstairs to check on her beloved new toy. The clock strikes midnight and suddenly all the toys come to life! Clara finds herself in the middle of a battle between the toy soldiers and the greedy mice. She is surprised to see the Nutcracker doll leading the soldiers into battle and taking on the seven-headed Mouse King!
Clara bravely helps the Nutcracker but the Mouse King has the advantage and looks like he is about to defeat the Nutcracker. Clara steps in and clouts the Mouse King with her shoe. He is defeated and the spell is broken! The Nutcracker is transformed into a young man. He tells Clara that he is Hans Peter, the nephew of Drosselmeyer who was cursed by the Mouse King’s mother many years ago.
Together, Clara, Hans-Peter and Drosselmeyer travel on a sleigh, driven by the Christmas tree angel, to far-away lands. They travel through the Land of Snow and finally to the Kingdom of Sweets where they meet the Sugar Plum Fairy, who welcomes them to her kingdom and introduces her friends.
Everyone dances in celebration, but it is getting late and soon Clara finds herself floating back to bed. She wakes on Christmas morning, wondering if it was all a dream, but outside on the street there is a boy who looks very familiar…
The ballet of The Nutcracker was inspired by the book ‘The Story of a Nutcracker’ by Alexandre Dumas. Dumas‘ story was an adaptation of the dark fairytale ‘The Nutcracker and the Mouse King’, written by E.T.A Hoffmann in 1816.
The original ballet was created by Marius Petipa and Lev Inavov with an original music score composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. It was first performed in at the Marinsky Theatre in St Petersburg in 1892. The Royal Ballet’s production and interpretation of the story was created by Sir Peter Wright and premiered at the Royal Opera House in 1984.
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