Wayne Eagling / Tamás Solymosi / Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

The Nutcracker


Fairy-tale ballet in three acts

Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker has for decades been an essential part of the Opera's run-up to Christmas. In memory of Vasili Vainonen and Gusztáv Oláh, we first presented for Christmas of 2015 a newly buffed-up show that follows classical ballet traditions while still conforming to the requirements of 21st century dance and set design. Partnering with Tamás Solymosi to choreograph a new fairy-tale ballet for the classical-music piece is a true Nutcracker specialist: the internationally renowned Wayne Eagling. This is the first time in the life of the Hungarian National Ballet that an artist of such worldwide stature has developed a choreography tailored specifically to its members, as well as taking inspiration from them.

Act 1
In front of the house there is an ice-skating rink and a vendor of roasted chestnuts. One after the other, the guests arrive to celebrate together with the family.
The Christmas party
The guests gather around the beautifully decorated Christmas tree, where a great number of presents are waiting for the children. Marie's Uncle Drosselmeier also arrives, accompanied by his nephew, and entertains the guests with a little home puppet show. The performance is about the battle fought between the Nutcracker and the Mouse King over the Princess (who is portrayed by Marie's sister, Louise). Drosselmeier gives the nutcracker doll to Marie, who happily dances with her new favourite. Fritz thoughtlessly grabs the nutcracker doll from Marie, breaking it. Fortunately, Drosselmeier is able to fix the toy. The Christmas festivities close with everybody joining in a dance. The guests go home, and the children get ready to retire for the night. Marie goes to bed holding her new toy.

Act 2

Marie's room
Full of happiness and joy, Marie falls sound asleep in the children's room, naturally with the Nutcracker doll she has received beside her. The clock strikes midnight. As Marie dreams, everything seems to grow to an enormous size: the Christmas tree, the gifts, and the furniture. Even Marie herself is transformed: into a Princess. The puppet show comes to life. The Mouse King leads mice and rats in preparations to attack the house and Christmas tree. In her fright, Marie hopes that the Nutcracker (who is none other than the Nephew) will come to her aid. At the head of an army of lead soldiers who have come to life, the Nutcracker defeats the Mouse King.
Journey to the Land of Snow
The room and the house transform into a forest winter wonderland. Marie – now Princess Marie – and the Nutcracker Prince delight in the Waltz of the Snowflakes together and then dance a lovely, lyrical duet to show their feelings for each other. They then bid farewell to the flurrying snowflakes.

Act 3
Journey
Drosselmeier accompanies the Princess and the Nutcracker Prince to the Snow Crystal Palace.
The Snow Crystal Palace
The inhabitants of the fairy-tale realm adoringly welcome the prince and his bride, Marie, to Drosselmeier's Snow Crystal Palace. A series of dance divertissements, in which the "residents" of the realm introduce themselves, ensues. A lively Spanish trio is followed by an Oriental snake-charming dance. Three Chinese dancers then entertain the guests with jumps and fast spins before the magnificent Russian dance is opened with a male solo. 
In this version, the pas de trois is a brilliant variation for “rococo” ballerinas, which leads, as the greetings conclude, to the climax of these divertissements: the Waltz of the Flowers. 
After the waltz comes the grand pas de deux between Princess Marie and the Nutcracker Prince, a duet constructed in keeping with classical tradition as an adagio, two variations and a coda testifying to the fulfilment of their love. In the finale, they are joined by the entire corps de ballet and the enchantingly lovely inhabitants of the Snow Crystal Palace. 
But as this marvellous and dizzying dream ends, we are returned to Marie’s room, where it is Christmas morning. Fritz rushes in to join her, and they tell each other their dreams.
Marie herself is unable to say whether the Christmas magic was something she dreamed or actually experienced.

Youth programme

Details

Location
Erkel Theatre
Date
Dec. 31, 2017
Start time
21:30
End time
00:10

Cast

Conductor
Kálmán Szennai
Princess Marie
Elizaveta Cheprasova
Prince
Zoltán Oláh
Drosselmeier
Mark James Biocca
Mouse King/Mouse King doll
Mikalai Radziush
Princess doll/Louise
Artemisz Bakó-Pisla
Solo snowflakes
Olga Chernakova / Rita Hangya
Solo Waltz of the Flowers girls
Ellina Pokhodnykh / Ágnes Kelemen
Solo Waltz of the Flowers boys
Dénes Darab / Carlos Taravillo Mahillo
Spanish girls
Rita Hangya / Yuliya Golovyna
Spanish boy
Maksym Kovtun
Arabian girl
Alexandra Kozmér
Arabian boys
József Medvecz / Attila Szakács / Iurii Kekalo / Takaaki Okajima
Chinese girl
Cristina Balaban
Chinese boys
Boris Myasnikov / Balázs Majoros
Russian girls
Dorisz Bedő / Bianka Rotter / Adrienn Szekeres / Zsófia Gyarmati
Russian boy
Miklós Dávid Kerényi
Pas de trois
Lea Földi / Anri Okada / Yourim Lee
Marie
Katica Ruip
Fritz
Szilárd Kökény Hámori

Credits

Choreographer
Wayne Eagling / Tamás Solymosi
Composer
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Costume designer
Gusztáv Oláh
Costume designer
Nóra Rományi
Staging ballet master
Wayne Eagling
Company répétiteurs
Mária Aradi / Imre Dózsa / Angéla Kövessy / Ildikó Pongor / Tamás Solymosi / György Szirb / Marianna Venekei
Students trained by
Evelyn Janács
Head of the Children's Chorus
Nikolett Hajzer

Premiere
Nov. 28, 2015