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Toy Soldiers Nutcracker
Photograph - Photography
Getting ready for the Nutcracker Ballet, the Toy Soldiers engage in backstage antics. Photography by Bob Orsillo
The Nutcracker, a two-act ballet by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, is perhaps the composer's best-loved and most famous work. Tchaikovsky's adaptation of the story "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King" by E. T. A. Hoffmann was commissioned by the director of the Imperial Theatres Ivan Vsevolozhsky in 1891. The original production was staged by Marius Petipa on 18 December 1892, premiering on a double-bill with a now semi-forgotten Tchaikovsky opera, Iolanta.
The plot of Hoffmann's original story is much more complex than that of the ballet, in which events had to be considerably simplified; Hoffmann's tale contains a long flashback story within its plot entitled The Tale of the Hard Nut, explaining how and why the Prince was turned into the Nutcracker. In Hoffmann's original version, the heroine Marie's adventures with the toys and with the Nutcracker are not a dream, and the Nutcracker does not turn into a Prince after his battle with the Mouse King, but at the end of the story - after Marie tells the now inanimate Nutcracker that she would love him even if he remained ugly forever. A year and a day after she declares this, the Prince returns to Marie and asks her to marry him. She accepts, and goes back to reign with him in the Doll Kingdom.
July 6th, 2010
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