The Nutcracker in the Kremlin: to the 130th anniversary of the great ballet

Photo courtesy of the Kremlin Ballet Theatre.

Photo courtesy of the Kremlin Ballet Theatre.

On December 8, 19 and January 14, The Nutcracker will be shown in the Kremlin – the most performed and most New Year’s ballet in the world. The Nutcracker is 130 years old – in December 2022 it celebrates its anniversary. For the first time, the audience saw the great ballet of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (libretto by Marius Petipa, staged by Lev Ivanov) on December 18, 1892 at the Mariinsky Theater. I must say that then the reaction of the public was ambiguous. Today, practically no country in the world can do without a performance to the music of Tchaikovsky.

Traditionally shows The Nutcracker on New Year’s holidays and the Kremlin Ballet Theatre. The production of the People’s Artist of Russia Andrei Petrov will also soon celebrate its anniversary – for almost thirty years, since 1993, the performance has been staged in the Kremlin with the same full house. During this time, it was watched by more than one and a half million viewers. And we can safely say that it was thanks to the Kremlin Nutcracker that several generations of Muscovites got acquainted with the art of classical choreography.

Fantastically beautiful scenery weighing a ton, one and a half hundred fantasy costumes, the dance of the Dragee Fairy to the sound of the outlandish celesta instrument, the “Waltz of the Snowflakes” and the “Waltz of the Flowers”, and, of course, the exciting anticipation of a miracle – this is a classic recipe for a favorite New Year’s dish called “The Nutcracker “. The Kremlin version of the famous work has its own secret ingredients. Thus, “soft decorations” create multidimensionality, a fabulous space under the Christmas tree and the airy horizons of the country of sweets. And the legendary illusionist Igor Kio also took part in the creation of the production. He came up with gift box tricks in which Drosselmeyer brings gifts to children. Entering such a magical box, the heroes disappear without a trace and …. materialize on the other side of the stage. Or, instead of one character, a completely different one appears before the astonished audience.

– For me, the production of Yuri Grigorovich has always been the best, – says the artistic director – the chief choreographer of the Kremlin Ballet Theater Andrei Petrov, – and I myself danced in it. But in 1993, our impresario asked The Nutcracker to go on tour. And I put on a show. He invited Igor Emilievich Kio to help find an original stage solution. And it so happened that the trip was canceled, and the performance entered the repertoire of the theater. Only on this stage we showed it more than 300 times, I don’t even count the tour. We’ve always had crowds. I went into the hall and could not find a free seat, I had to either leave or ask someone to bring a chair …

According to the choreographer, something new is introduced into the production for each season – so that the performance does not “freeze”. “The Nutcracker” by Andrei Petrov is a story not only about New Year’s miracles, but also about growing up, conquering your fears, and the birth of your first love. The main female part is danced by the most charming prima ballerinas of the Kremlin Ballet: Olesya Roslanova, Daria Bochkova, Alexandra Krisa and Honored Artist of the Russian Federation Ekaterina Pervushina. In the main male role, the elegant, charismatic premier of the troupe Daniil Roslanov, who has excellent dance technique and outstanding artistry, Honored Artist of the Russian Federation Maxim Afanasiev and a very young dancer Alexei Kazantsev, who has already been remembered by the capital’s public for his magnificent jump and the ability to create an expressive , really deep image. It is worth noting that after Rudolf Nureyev, only a truly “flying” prime minister can perform the part of the Nutcracker Prince – the great artist set such a bar for this role back in 1967.

Photo courtesy of the Kremlin Ballet Theatre.

Photo courtesy of the Kremlin Ballet Theatre.

The tradition of celebrating the New Year with the Nutcracker has been around for more than a century. Over its long history, this ballet has received hundreds of different readings: symbolist, minimalistic, “singing”, those where Drosselmeyer and his nephew are women, with and without a happy ending (in Mikhail Shemyakin’s well-known production of The Nutcracker and Marie are eaten by mice at the end). The Kremlin Nutcracker – bright, spectacular, magical and at the same time unusually delicate in its relationship to the original source – is an ideal production to start your acquaintance with classical dance and fall in love with it forever.

Photo courtesy of the Kremlin Ballet Theatre.

Photo courtesy of the Kremlin Ballet Theatre.

The performance is accompanied by the Orpheus Radio Symphony Orchestra under the direction of its artistic director and chief conductor, Honored Artist of the Russian Federation Sergei Kondrashev.

Photos from the archive of the Kremlin Ballet Theater can be see link

Ballet tickets “The Nutcracker” from 500 rubles.

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