The Nutcracker - Biographies

Der Nussknacker. Katherina Markowskaja, Tigran Mikayelyan. ©Wilfried Hösl Der Nussknacker. Ensemble. ©Wilfried Hösl Der Nussknacker. Ilia Sarkisov, Ensemble. ©Wilfried Hösl

The Nutcracker

John Neumeier

Music by Pyotr I. Tchaikovsky
Nationaltheater

Wednesday, 26. December 2012

Stage Direction and Choreography


John Neumeier. ©Steven Haberland
John Neumeier
Since 1973 John Neumeier has been Artistic Director and Chief Choreographer of The Hamburg Ballet, since 1996 he has been "Ballettintendant" (General Manager).

He was born in 1942 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A., where he also received his first dance training. He went on to study ballet both in Copenhagen and at the Royal Ballet School in London. He acquired a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and Theater Studies from Marquette University, Wisconsin, where he created his first choreographic works. In 1963 he was "discovered" in London by Marcia Haydée and Ray Barra, leading John Cranko to engage him at the Stuttgart Ballet, where he progressed to solo dancer.

In 1969 Ulrich Erfurth appointed Neumeier as Director of Ballet in Frankfurt, where he soon caused a sensation. This was largely due to his new interpretations of such well-known ballets as The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet  and Daphnis and Chloe. In 1973 August Everding brought him to Hamburg. Under Neumeier's direction The Hamburg Ballet became one of the leading ballet companies in the German dance scene and soon received international recognition.

Bühnenbild und Kostüme


Jürgen Rose



Konsul Stahlbaum


Vittorio Alberton.©Sascha Kletzsch
Vittorio Alberton
Corps de ballet

Vittorio was born in Treviso, Italy. He trained at the Accademia della Scala in Milan and at the Ballet Academy/Heinz-Bosl-Stiftung in Munich.

In 2002 he became member of the Bavarian State Ballet in Munich.

Debut 2002/2003
Solo part in Six Dances (J. Kylián)

Debut 2003/2004:
Tom Thumb in Sleeping Beauty (M. Petipa / I. Liška)
Dawn (J. Neumeier)
Pas de quatre in The Nutcracker (J. Neumeier)
Serenade (G. Balanchine)

Debut 2004/2005:
Evan in Limb's Theorem (W. Forsythe)

Debut 2005/2006:
So nah, so fern (I. Galili)
Boys Variation in Raymonda (P. Wright)
Century Rolls (D. Bombana)

Debut 2006/2007:
Pas de six in Giselle (P. Wright)
Pas de six in Swan Lake (R. Barra)
A Tailor in The silver rose (G. Murphy)

Debut 2007/2008
Cambio d'abito (S. Sandroni), creation

Debut 2010/2011
Pas de Six in The Taming of the Shrew (J. Cranko)
Camacho in Don Quijote (M. Petipa, new choreography by R. Barra, A. Gorski, Tradition)

Debut 2011/2012
Widow Simone in La Fille mal gardée (F. Ashton)

Debut 2012/2013
BIPED (M. Cunningham)

Debut 2013/2014
Lord Capulet in Romeo and Juliet (J. Cranko)

Frau Konsul Stahlbaum


Zuzana Zahradníková Foto: S. Kletzsch
Zuzana Zahradníková.
First soloist

Zuzana Zahrdaníková was born in Olomouc (Moravia) and trained at the Prague Conservatory. At competitions in Vienna and Budapest she became finalist and danced in several gala-performances. After being an apprentice in season 1999-2000, she joined the Bavarian State Ballet one year later as a corps de ballet dancer. In autum 2004, Zuzana Zahradníková was promoted to soloist, in 2007/2008 to first soloist. Her repertory includes solo roles in La Bayadère (P. Bart), Don Quichote, Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet (G. Balanchine), the second detail and Limb´s Theorem (W. Forsythe), as well as the White Lady in Raymonda (R. Barra), Helena in Neumeier’s Midsummer Night’s Dream and the fiancée in Kyliáns Svadebka.
She was promoted to first soloist at the beginning of the season 2007/2008.

Debut 2005/2006
Solopartie in Century Rolls (D. Bombana), creation
Myrtha in Giselle (P. Wright)

Debut 2006/2007
Odaliske in Le Corsaire (M. Petipa, I. Liška)
Solopartie in Chamber Symphony (L. Childs)

Debut 2007/2008
Solo-Ariel in Der Sturm (J. Mannes)
Große Fuge (H. van Manen)
White Couple in Katalyse (J. Cranko)

Debut 2008/2009
Sister in A Cinderella Story (J. Neumeier)
Odaliske in Shéhérazade (M. Fokine)
Prudence in Die Kameliendame (J. Neumeier)
Zugvögel (J. Kylián), Kreation

Debut 2009/2010
Lady of the House in Les Biches (B. Nijinska)

Debut 2010/2011
Madame Larina in Onegin (J. Cranko)
Fleur de Farine Fairy and Duchess in Sleeping Beauty (M. Petipa, I. Liška)
Lady of the Street in The Taming of the Shrew (J. Cranko)
Queen Mother in Illusions - like Swan Lake (J. Neumeier)

Debut 2011/2012
Frau Konsulin Stahlbaum/ "La fille du Pharao" in The Nutcracker (J. Neumeier)
Gods and Dogs (J. Kylián)
1. Pas de trois in Goldberg-Variationen (J. Robbins)

Debut 2012/2013
Gamzatti in La Bayadère (M. Petipa/P. Bart)
2. Solo-Girl in Choreartium (L. Massine)
Unitxt (R. Siegal), Creation

Marie, ihre Tochter


Katherina Markowskaja © Sascha Kletzsch
Katherina Markowskaja
First Soloist

Katherina Markowskaja was born in Kiev, Ukraine where she completed her training at the National Ballet Academy of Arts. As a student, she was cast in performances of the National Ballet of Kiev. At the age of sixteen, she accepted a scholarship of the Heinz-Bosl-Foundation, offered to her by Konstanze Vernon. Ms. Markowskaja graduated from the Ballet-Academy Munich and subsequently joined the Saxon State Opera Ballet Dresden under artistic director Vladimir Derevianko. She was promoted to the rank of first soloist two years later. In 1999, she received the Mary Wigman Award.

Her repertory includes, among others, classical principal roles such as Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), Giselle, Kitri (Don Quijote), Lise (La Fille mal gardée), Bianca (The Taming of the Shrew – Cranko) and Otilie (Wahlverwandtschaften – Schilling) as well as in John Neumeier's ballets Natalia and Princess Claire (Illusions – like Swan Lake), Marie (Nutcracker), Hermia (A Midsummer Night's Dream), Rosalind (As you like it) and Chloé (Daphnis and Chloé).

Since 2010, she works as a freelance ballerina and trains with the Bavarian State Ballet. Since the beginning of the season 2012/13 she is a First Soloist.

Debuts in Munich 2010/2011
Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty (M. Petipa/ I. Liška)

Debuts in Munich 2011/2012
Marie in The Nutcracker (J. Neumeier)
Bianca in The Taming of the Shrew (J. Cranko)
Voices of Spring (F. Ashton)
1. Pas de deux in Goldberg-Variationen (J. Robbins
3. Pas de deux in Goldberg-Variationen (J. Robbins)
Lise in La Fille mal gardée (F. Ashton)

Debut 2012/2013
5. Solo-Girl in Choreartium (L. Massine)
Pandora in Helden (T. Kohler)
Unitxt (R. Siegal), Creation

Debut 2013/2014
Juliet in Romeo and Juliet (J. Cranko)

Louise, ihre Schwester, eine Ballerina


Lucia Lacarra © Sascha Kletzsch
Lucia Lacarra
Principal dancer 

Lucia Lacarra, born in San Sebastián, knew from earliest childhood that she was born to be a ballerina. Whenever she saw pictures of the ballet school in Monte Carlo, sponsored by Grace Kelly, she cried because she still had no chance to dance. It was only when in her small Basque hometown a studio was opened that she was able to begin with lessons. She was ten at that time. Soon she was sent to a summer course directed by Rosella Hightower. There Lucia´s mother was strongly advised to support her daughter's obvious talent. So she was sent to San Sebastián to Mentxu Medel who worked with Lucia for three years in a completely unselfish way to prepare her for the audition to Victor Ullate´s school in Madrid. Already in her second year there she was given a contract to the Ballet de Victor Ullate. She was just fifteen when she danced Balanchine´s Allegro Brillante. In the course of four seasons this was followed by Concerto Barocco, Fokine´s Les Sylphides, four works by Hans van Manen, Nils Christe´s Before Nightfall, as well as four pieces by her mentor Ullate who gave her the necessary self-confidence.

In 1994 she joined Roland Petit´s Ballets de Marseille as principal. Petit immediately entrusted her with the role of Esmeralda, with Patrick Dupont as her partner, in Notre Dame de Paris, replacing Dominique Khalfouni. From Roland Petit she learned above all to always be emotionally present on stage and she felt that in this company everything was danced in a somewhat more classical style. Within three years she danced the leading roles in seven ballets by Roland Petit, four of which were created on her, most notably Angélique in Le Guépard and, as partner of Nicolas Le Riche, in the famous Le Jeune homme et la Mort. In her pursuit of classicism she then decided to join the San Francisco Ballet. Under the direction of Helgi Tomasson she could dance Giselle, Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty for the first time, i.e. some of the classical roles that a young ballerina has to master. The Cage, In the Night and Dances at a Gathering by Jerome Robbins became part of her repertoire, as well as six Balanchine ballets, from Serenade to Jewels, and Victor Gsovsky´s Grand Pas Classique, three ballets by Helgi Tomasson, MacMillian´s The Invitation, van Manen´s Black Cake, Nacho Duato´s Without Words, Roland Petit´s L'Arlésienne and Desdemona in Lar Lubovitch´s contemporary Othello.

Lucia Lacarra has joined the Bayerisches Staatsballett with the 2002/2003 season in order to return towards the leading European choreographers. In the course of the first three months in Munich she danced Raymonda, Tatjana and Odette/Odile as well as the third pas de deux of In the Night, always together with her partner of many years, Cyril Pierre who has also joined the company as principal. Together they are guests in the big theatres around the world. She also danced in Portrait John Neumeier in Jupiter Symphony and In the Blue Garden. In the autumn 2003 she danced Louise in John Neumeier's The Nutcracker as well as Titania/Hippolyta in his A Midsummer Night's Dream and the title role in Ivan Liška's new production of The Sleeping Beauty.

Lucia Lacarra was awarded with the Prix Nijinsky in Monte Carlo in December 2002, followed by the Prix Benois which she won in Moskau in April 2003. She was nominated in 2004 and 2005 for the Merkur Theaterpreis in Munich. In November 2005 she was awarded with the Spanish Premio Nacional de Danza 2005. This prize, endowed with 30.000,- Euro is one of the highest awards the Spanish government gives out. In 2007 she was announced honorary citizen and cultural messenger of her home town San Sebastián. In 2008, she was awarded the honorary title "Kammertänzerin" by the Bavarian Ministry of Culture.

Debut 2003/2004
Marguerite in Lady of the Camellias (J. Neumeier)
Brahms-Schoenberg Quartett (G. Balanchine)
the second detail (W. Forsythe)

Debut 2004/2005
Juliet in Romeo and Juliet (J. Cranko)
Five Tangos (H. van Manen)
Black Cake (H. van Manen), 3rd pas de deux
Agon (G. Balanchine)
Nikija in La Bayadère (P. Bart)

Debut 2005/2006
Sophie in The Silver Rose (G. Murphy),creation
Century Rolls (D. Bombana), creation

Debut 2006/2007
Giselle (P. Wright)
Medora in Le Corsaire (M. Petipa, I. Liška)
The Woman in Song of the Earth  (K. MacMillan)

Debut 2007/2008
Ariel in Der Sturm (J. Mannes), creation
Violakonzert/II (M. Schläpfer), creation
Adagio Hammerklavier (H. v. Manen)
Legende (J. Cranko), Pas de deux

Debut 2008/2009
Zobeide in Shéhérazade (M. Fokine)
Odette in Once Upon An Ever After
(T. Kohler), creation

Debut 2009/2010
Pas de deux 1 in Artifact (W. Forsythe)
The French Ballerina in Série Noire - A choreographic murder mystery (T. Kohler)

Debut 2010/2011
The Old Men and Me (H. van Manen)
Princess Natalia in Illusions - Like Swan Lake (J. Neumeier)

Debut 2011/2012
Dulcinea in Don Quijote (M. Petipa, new choreography by R. Barra, A. Gorski, Tradition)
Katharina in The Taming of the Shrew (J. Cranko)
Princess Odette in Illusions - Like Swan Lake (J. Neumeier)
The Oldest Sister in Las Hermanas (K. MacMillan)
3. Pas de deux in Goldberg-Variationen (J. Robbins)

Debut 2012/2013
Solo-Girl 2. suit in Choreartium (L. Massine)
Broken Fall (R. Maliphant)

Debut 2013/2014
Hippolyta/Titania in A Midsummer Night's Dream (J. Neumeier)

Fritz, ihr Bruder, ein Kadett


Karen Azatyan.©Sascha Kletzsch
Karen Azatyan
First Soloist

Karen Azatyan, born in Armenia, started his dance education at the Yerevan Dancing Art State College and completed it in 2007 at the Dance Academy in Zurich. During his time in Zurich he received the second price at the competition “Tanz Olymp Berlin 2005” in the category classic variation and in the same year the Prix de Lausanne scholarship and won the young promising dancer award of the international ballet competition Varna in 2006.

From the season 2007/2008 on, he has joined the Bavarian State Ballet as a member of the Corps de ballet and was promoted to a Soloist in autumn 2010. With the beginning of the season 2012/13 Karen Azatyan became First Soloist.

Debut 2007/2008
Sebastian and Antonio in The Tempest (J. Mannes)

Debut 2008/2009
Romeo in Romeo and Juliet (J. Cranko)
Zugvögel (J. Kylián), creation

Debut 2009/2010
Athlet in Les Biches (B. Nijinska)

Debut 2010/2011
Albrecht in Once Upon an Ever After (T. Kohler)
Daphnis in My Ravel: Daphnis and Chloé (T. Kohler)
Hortensio in The Taming of the Shrew (J. Cranko)
Count Alexander in Illusions - like Swan Lake (J. Neumeier)
Basilio in Don Quijote (M. Petipa, new choreography by R. Barra, A. Gorski, Tradition)

Debut 2011/2012
Fritz in The Nutcracker (J. Neumeier)
Lucentio in The Taming of the Shrew (J. Cranko)
Bluebird in Sleeping Beauty (M. Petipa / I. Liška)
Voices of Spring-Pas de deux (F. Ashton)
Gods and Dogs (J. Kylián)
Pas de six and Russian dance in Swan Lake (R. Barra)

Debut 2012/2013
Golden Idol in La Bayadère (M. Petipa/P. Bart)
4. Solo-Boy in Choreartium (L. Massine)
Birthday Offering (F. Ashton)
Prometheus in Heroes (T. Kohler)

Debut 2013/2014
Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet (J. Cranko)
Demetrius in A Midsummer Night's Dream (J. Neumeier)
Unitxt (R. Siegal), creation

Ballettmeister Drosselmeier


Cyril Pierre.©Sascha Kletzsch
Cyril Pierre

Principal dancer

Cyril Pierre was born in Nancy, France, and trained at the Conservatoire of his native town, before joining Serge Golovine's class at the Ballet School of the Opéra National de Paris.
Having graduated, he was engaged at Roland Petit's Ballet National de Marseille, where he was promoted to first solist in 1990 and to étoile (Principal) in 1992. Four years later, Helgi Tomasson invited him to join the San Francisco Ballet as a Principal Dancer. His San Francisco repertory included all major classical roles, as well as contemporary creations by Helgi Tomasson, James Kudelka and others.

Together with his partner Lucia Lacarra he joined the Bavarian State Ballet as a Principal Dancer in autumn 2002, dancing such important roles as Onegin, Prince Siegfried (Swanlake) and Abderakhman (Raymonda) in his very first Munich season.

During season 2003-04, he enlarged his repertoire with Günther in John Neumeier's Nutcracker, Oberon/Theseus in Neumeier's Midsummer Night's Dream and Prince Désiré in The Sleeping Beauty (Marius Petipa/Ivan Liška).

As a guest dancer, Cyril appears on stages world wide, in full performances (Berlin, Prague, Naples, Milan), as well as in galas, mostly together with his partner Lucia Lacarra.

Debut 2004/2005
Romeo und Mercutio in Romeo und Julia (J. Cranko)
Gaston in Die Kameliendame (J.Neumeier)
Black Cake (H. van Manen)
Bella Figura (J. Kylián)
Agon (G. Balanchine)
Solor in La Bayadère (P.Bart)

Debut 2005/2006
Baron Ochs in The Silver Rose/Die silberne Rose (G. Murphy), creation
Century Rolls (D. Bombana), creation
Hilarion in Giselle (P. Wright)

Debut 2006/2007
Prinz Albrecht in Giselle (P. Wright)

Debut 2006/2007
Lankedem and Birbanto in Le Corsaire (M. Petipa, I. Liška)

Debut 2007/2008
Prospero in Der Sturm (J. Mannes)
Große Fuge (H. van Manen)
Adagio Hammerklavier (H. van Manen)

Debut 2008/2009
Vater in A Cinderella Story (J. Neumeier)
Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet (J. Cranko)
Shariar in Shéhérazade (M. Fokine)
Center Man in Les Biches (B. Nijinska)
Zugvögel (J. Kylián), creation

Debut 2009/2010
Abderakham in Raymonda (M. Petipa)
Freund der Ballerina des 20. Jahrhunderts in Série Noire - A choreographic murder mystery (T. Kohler)

Debut 2010/2011
Tsar in Série Noire - A choreographic murder mystery (T. Kohler)
Pas de deux in Artifact (W. Forsythe)
Man 1 in My Ravel: Whichever Way he Looks... (J. Mannes)
Carabosse in Sleeping Beauty (M. Petipa, I. Liška)
Prince Leopold in Illusions - Like Swan Lake (J. Neumeier)
Don Quijote in Don Quijote (M. Petipa, new choreography by R. Barra, A. Gorski, Tradition)
El Trianero, Matador in Don Quijote (M. Petipa, new choreography by R. Barra, A. Gorski, Tradition)

Debut 2011/2012
Drosselmeier in The Nutcracker (J. Neumeier)
Hortensio in The Taming of the Shrew (J. Cranko)
Man in Song of the Earth (K. MacMillan)
The Fiancé in Las Hermanas (K. MacMillan)
Widow Simone in La Fille mal gardée (F. Ashton)


Debut 2012/2013
1. Pas de deux in Goldberg-Variationen (J. Robbins)
The Moor in The Moor's Pavane (José Limón)
Partner der Primaballerina und Pas de deux in Birthday Offering (F. Ashton)

Debut 2013/2014
Lord Capulet in Romeo and Juliet (J. Cranko)
Zettel in A Midsummer Night's Dream (J. Neumeier)


Günther, Anführer der Kadetten


Marlon Dino © Sascha Kletzsch
Marlon Dino
Principal dancer

Marlon Dino was born in Albania and trained at the School of Choreography and Ballet in Tirana. In 1998 he joined the Genève Dance Center under the direction of David Allen. Thereafter in 2001 he danced for the Ballet of the Vienna State Opera.

He became member of the Corps de ballet of the Bavarian State Ballet in 2002, where he danced a solo part in Jiří Kylián’s Six Dances. He created two choreographies within the State Ballet’s Young Choreographers Programme.
He was promoted to soloist in autumn 2005 and at the beginning of the season 2007/2008 to soloist. During the season 2009/2010 he became principal dancer.

His classical and contemporary repertoire includes the forth movement of George Balanchines Brahms-Schönberg-Quartett. In season 2004/2005 he debuted as Count Paris and Tybalt in Cranko´s Romeo and Julia and assumed an important part in Balanchine´s Agon (second pas de trois). Furthermore he danced the Gaston in the Lady of the Camellias (J. Neumeier), the solo in Hans van Manen´s Five Tangos and Rotbart in Swanlake (R. Barra). His first own choreography, a Pas de deux for Cheryl Wimperis and himself, was created in summer 2003 in the context of the "Jungen Choreographen". In summer 2004 followed the choreography Nimm´s wie du willst.

Debut 2003/2004
Brahms-Schoenberg Quartett (G. Balanchine)

Debut 2004/2005:
Count Paris and Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet (J. Cranko)
Agon (G. Balanchine), second pas de trois
Gaston in Lady of the Camelias (J. Neumeier)
Solo in Five Tangos

Debut 2005/2006
Berenger in Raymonda (R. Barra)

Debut 2006/2007
Second Pas de deux in Century Rolls (D. Bombana)
Pas de six in Giselle (P. Wright)
Rotbart in Swan Lake (R. Barra)
Ali and Birbanto in Le Corsaire (M. Petipa, I. Liška)
Photographer in Die Silberne Rose (G. Murphy)
Man in Song of the Earth (K. MacMillan)
Pas Fabergé in The Sleeping Beauty (M. Petipa/I. Liška)
Prince Albrecht in Giselle (P. Wright) on the occasion of Ballett und Wildnis

Debut 2007/2008
Onegin in Onegin (J. Cranko)
Alonso in Der Sturm (J. Mannes), creation
Legende (J. Cranko)
Solor in La Bayadère (Bart)

Debut 2008/2009
Romeo in Romeo and Juliet (J. Cranko)
Siegfried in Once Upon An Ever After (T. Kohler), Kreation
Zeman in Shéhérazade (M. Fokine)
Siegfried in Swan Lake (R. Barra)
Adagio Hammerklavier (H. v. Manen)
Jean de Brienne in Raymonda (M. Petipa)

Debut 2009/2010
The golden slave in Shéhérazade (M. Fokine)
Armand in The Lady of the Camellias (J. Neumeier)
Bach in Multiplicity. Forms of Silence and Emptiness (N. Duato)

Debut 2010/2011
Prince Désiré in Sleeping Beauty (M. Petipa, I. Liška)
Petruccio in The Taming of the Shrew (J. Cranko)
The Man in the Shadows in Illusions - Like Swan Lake (J. Neumeier)
The King in Illusions - Like Swan Lake (J. Neuemeier)
El Trianero, Matador in Don Quijote (M. Petipa, new choreography by R. Barra, A. Gorski, Tradition)

Debut 2011/2012
Günther in The Nutcracker (J. Neumeier)
Broken Fall (R. Maliphant)

Debut 2012/2013
Choreartium (L. Massine)
Goldberg-Variations (J. Robbins)

Debut 2013/2014
Theseus/Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream (J. Neumeier)