In order to know the history of The Nutcracker, we must go back to 1888, when the director of the Russian imperial theaters, Ivan Vsevolozhsky, asked Tchaikovsky to compose a score for a ballet based on a plan he had made for the fairy tale himself. Sleeping Beauty, by Charles Perrault. The success of this play led Vsevolozhsky to reconnect with Tchaikovsky, this time with a proposal for a two-act ballet based on one of Hoffmann’s fantastic tales.
Shchelkunchik is the original title of this ballet in Russian, being therefore an adaptation made by Vsevolozhsky and Marius Petipa of Hoffmann’s story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. Petipa fell ill before rehearsals, which made Lev Ivanov, his assistant, play a more decisive role in choreography. Ivanov will have highlighted the sugar kingdom scenes in the second act. Creating a knot of anxiety and anticipation of the future, he conducted the lyrical content of the song as a story about the fate of the characters and a poetic reflection on the Christmas spirit.
The ballet had its absolute debut in St. Petersburg at the Mariinsky Theater in December 1892. The National Ballet Company – founded in 1977 and has since performed on the country’s most important stages pieces of classical repertoire and contemporary creations – danced for the first time. The Nutcracker in December 2003 at the Camões Theater in Lisbon.