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Resource Room

november 25 - december 27, 2011

Preview Houston Ballet's The Nutcracker 

The Nutcracker (1987)
Choreography: Ben Stevenson, O.B.E.
Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)

Originally choreographed by Marius Petipa in 1892 with music composed by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, the story of The Nutcracker was based on E.T.A. Hoffman's tale "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King."  The plot of Hoffmann's original story is much more complex than that of the ballet, in which events had to be considerably simplified. 

Set in nineteenth century Germany, The Nutcracker begins at a charming Christmas party at which the mysterious Dr. Drosselmeyer gives his little niece Clara a magical toy that takes her on an unforgettable journey through the Land of Snow and the Kingdom of Sweets.

In sharp contrast to Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker Suite, which was instantly popular in the 1890s, the ballet itself did not begin to achieve its great popularity until after the George Balanchine staging became a hit in New York City.  Since then, The Nutcracker has become perhaps the most well-known of all ballets, performed primarily during the Christmas season.  In the United States it has transcended its origins as a mere ballet or piece of classical music, becoming a part of American tradition. 


Resources for The Nutcracker:

Read the full synopsis of The Nutcracker

Read the plot summary of the original Hoffman tale "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King"

Watch video of The Nutcracker

Read Ben Stevenson's bio

Read Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky's bio