The Nutcracker - Synopsis

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


Act I

1st Scene: Marie's Birthday

Marie turns 12 years old – an age where playing with dolls is no longer of interest. Her brother Fritz, a cadet, brings his comrades while Marie´s sister Louise,a prima ballerina of the court theatre, is accompanied by ballet master Mr. Drosselmeier.
Cadet Günther, the spokesman of the regiment and a dear friend of Fritz, gives Marie a nutcracker doll for her birthday, while Mr. Drosselmeier hands Marie a pair of pointe shoes as a present. She is mesmerized by the ballet master, and has a secret crush on the handsome Günther.

2nd Scene: Marie's Dream – The Rehearsal
Once the party guests have left the house, Marie returns to the living room with her nutcracker doll in hands to secretly try on the pointe shoes. She is startled by a vision of Mr. Drosselmeier. In her dream, he introduces her to the magical and mysterious world of the theatre. Marie is enchanted by this environment. She is rejoined by Günther, who is a soloist at the court theatre ballet and dances with him on pointe. Marie becomes part of an ensemble rehearsal.


Act II

3rd Scene: Marie's Dream – The Performance
Drosselmeier shows Marie how a performance is created: The empty stage fills with settings and people preparing to perform. Drosselmeier demonstrates different divertissements and occasionally joins the ensemble. Even Marie´s brother Fritz appears as a dancer. The performance culminates in a grand finale after which the theatre world suddenly disappears – Marie is awakened and has to part with her dream.