Musical version by: Igor Kadomtsev
Music Director: Dmitri Jurowski
Poetic text by: Demian Kudryavtsev
Stage Director and Choreographer: Alla Sigalova
Scene Designer: Nikolay Simonov
Costume Designer: Pavel Kaplevich
Lighting Designer: Aivar Salikhov
Stage choirmaster: Yulia Senyukova
Choirmaster: Maria Chekrkchieva
Running time: 1 hour 40 minutes with one intermission
Premiered on 24 December 2014
Recommended for 6+
Sung in Russian
Before each performance in December young spectators will meet Father Frost and the Snow Maiden in the theatre's foyer, sing and dance around the Christmas Tree and have a lot of fun!
Stage Director Alla Sigalova and designer Pavel Kaplevich has suggested a bold idea to adapt the legendary ballet The Nutcracker to an opera.
The production was dedicated to the 175th anniversary of Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s birth, one of the most important dates in the 2015 music calendar.
Alla Sigallova, stage director:
I studied at the Vaganova Ballet College. In November the Mariinsky Theatre would start to show a series of The Nutcracker, where we participated, and the rehearsals would begin in September. If the performances commenced in November, we started rehearsals from September 1, when we had just returned after our summer holiday. And it would go nonstop till February. It was so during all nine years of my studies at the College. There was just a few-month break and The Nutcracker began again. Each note of its music is deep inside my pores. That is why to adapt The Nutcracker’s score to an opera was pretty obvious. This music means so much for me: it is my childhood, my native St. Petersburg, the smell of the theatre wings, the Mariinsky’s stage, and the expectation of New Year miracles. For me all of it is magical and enticing… To me this production is a gift from above. I am happy to work with Tchaikovsky’s music, with talented people, I am glad to be back at the Novaya Opera as I keep beautiful memories of Evgeny Kolobov and outstanding singers, chorus members, who created amazing images in La traviata 16 years ago. I am grateful to everyone who worked on The Nutcracker because it was a great responsibility. We gave birth to a new work, bringing into it our warmth, our cordiality, our experience and our childhood memories.
Igor Kadomtsev, author of the musical version:
Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker is the best ballet score in the world. It is a classic example of specifically ballet dramaturgy when the action takes part in Act 1, while Act 2 is basically a concert in costumes. The producers of the opera divided the action between the two acts, that is why their borders have changed and some numbers from original Act 2 have moved to Act 1. For example, in our version the Nutcracker meets the dolls in Act 1 and his fight with the mice turns out to be Masha’s dream. So we had to swap a few numbers and make decorative cuts. I dare say that many choreographers interpreted The Nutcracker’s drama in their own way.
The main task for me and the music director of the production, Dmitri Jurowski, was to reveal the operatic potential of the score. On the one hand we have preserved, where possible, Tchaikovsky’s original themes, on the other hand we have taken care about singers’ comfort. Our approach is integral: Tchaikovsky’s score is complemented with a vocal part, which is also based on the composer’s music (for example, taken from different levels of the musical fabric). We have kept the original orchestration, but in some parts we have made it lighter (otherwise it would not be possible to hear the singers). The only thing I allowed myself to compose is the aria of the Mouse King during the fight scene (but again it is based on Tchaikovsky’s themes).
The Novaya Opera put together its New Year programme quite creatively. Instead of the traditional ballet The Nutcracker, they have staged an opera to the well-known music by Tchaikovsky. <…> the trick is mostly in the sets and costumes by Pavel Kaplevich who has made a fantastic runway walk inspired by Hoffmann’s fairy tales. As a tribute to the ballet origin of the score, the production includes choreographic divertissements staged by Alla Sigalova. So unless the audience is very conservative and opinionated, its experience will be emotional and vivid.
The orchestra traditionally works its magic, the stage is traditionally transformed into an old little snow-covered town, ladies and gentlemen demurely walk past lit-up windows, groups of children run led by Drosselmeyer, the mysterious maker of tricky toys…Unexpectedly, he starts singing and the children follow him, performing a funny “choirlet” to the well-known music of the “March of Toy Soldiers”. The stage turns into Councillor Stahlbaum’s well-lit hall. “It is not a toy for everybody,” Drosselmeyer sings to the amusingly limping theme of the fantastic mazurka, presenting the Nutcracker toy to the children. They are disgusted by its huge jaws, and only Masha feels sorry for the wooden toothy toy. She admits to it using her tender soprano.
December 26, 2014
The true gems of the show are touching children choirs with all the lace, ruches and informal festive words which, who knows, may become a staple of the children’s New Year’s performances.
December 26, 2014
Judging by the vocal and stage presence, the main character is Drosselmeyer. The role is slightly demonized and there is no image of a kind godfather. From the beginning he is a bit weird and formidable, but good wizard. This part has special “fairy” movements and two arias (the one in the beginning of act 2 is large-scale). Andrey Breus is a wonderful Drosselmeyer and his vocal and stage performance is definitely one of the show’s successes.
December 28, 2014
The sets are good, the show is quick and dynamic, and so children won’t be bored.
December 28, 2014
The performance is very beautiful. It has fancy costumes with ruches, bonnets and high wigs, as well as a Christmas tree made of red baubles, robot mice with red shiny eye sockets ominously nodding their heads, the snowwhite house of the Stahlbaums with grand staircases and an indispensable clock face in Act I. The central piece of Act II is a gigantesque armchair to make the dolls look small. The atmosphere is truly festive and magic as is due on Christmas.
December 29, 2014