Sun | Aug 20, 2017

'The Nutcracker' this Sunday at Palace Cineplex

Published:Friday | December 9, 2016 | 12:00 AM
A scene from 'The Nutcracker', the most performed ballet in the world.

The Bolshoi's version of The Nutcracker is danced by Denis Rodkin as the courageous prince and Anna Nikulina as Marie. This timeless ballet, which tells the tale of a little girl's dreamlike adventure on Christmas Eve, lives on as a holiday tradition throughout the world.

In The Nutcracker, guests are gathering for a Christmas party at the Stahlbaum home. Among them are Drosselmeyer, godfather to Marie and Fritz, the Stahlbaums' children. He has brought them a wonderful present - a funny Nutcracker. The children wait impatiently for the time at long last when they will see the Christmas tree and the presents.

The long-awaited moment comes and the handsomely adorned Christmas tree is presented to the gathering. Drosselmeyer suddenly appears, disguised as a magician, and the children do not recognise him. They are delighted by his ability to make their toys come alive but, as with everything clad in mystery, their fear is aroused.

In order to calm them down, Drosselmeyer takes off his mask and the children now recognise their beloved godfather.

Comes alive

Marie wants to play with the wonderful dolls which have come alive, but they have already been put away. To comfort Marie, Drosselmeyer gives her the Nutcracker Doll. She takes a great liking to this awkward, funny creature.

Marie's brother Fritz, who is mischievous and very naughty, accidentally breaks the doll. With great tenderness, Marie comforts her injured Nutcracker and rocks it backwards and forwards. Fritz and his friends now put on mouse masks and tease poor Marie.

The guests appear from an adjoining room. After the final, ceremonial Grossvater dance, they all leave.

At night, the room where the Christmas tree stands is bathed in moonlight. It looks mysterious and full of magical secrets. Overcoming her fears, Marie has come to the room to visit her 'sick' Nutcracker Doll. She kisses the doll and rocks it.

Drosselmeyer now appears. But instead of her kind godfather, he has turned into a wizard. At a wave of his hand, everything around them is transformed: the walls of the room slide back, the Christmas tree starts to grow. All the toys come alive and grow together with the tree.

Suddenly, mice creep out from under the floorboards, led by the Mouse King. The dolls are panic-stricken and thrown into confusion. The Nutcracker's quick wits and bravery save the day; lining up the lead soldiers, he boldly leads them out to do battle with the mice forces.

Evil mice

However, the forces are unequal, the advantage is on the side of the evil mice. The Nutcracker is left alone to face the Mouse King and his suite. Marie is out of her mind with worry over the danger that threatens her doll.

According to German folklore, nutcrackers were given as keepsakes to bring good luck to families and protect their homes from danger. Nutcrackers are said to embody the 'cycle of life'. As the seed of the nut falls to the ground it grows into a sturdy tree, living over centuries, providing nourishment for woodcutters and woodcrafters. Before harvesting the logs of the elder trees, a celebratory feast was held where fruits and nuts were eaten, symbolically passing on the magic and mystery of this eternal cycle and, in turn, to collectors of these exquisite wooden nutcrackers.

Now deemed the world's most popular and beloved ballet, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker was a flop when it was originally produced in by 1892 by Marius Petipa and his assistant Lev Ivanov. Audiences in St Petersburg were not enamoured with the performance, which was loosely adapted from the dark E.T.A. Hoffmann story, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.

Previous showings of The Nutcracker have sold out in Jamaica and audiences here will have another opportunity to enjoy the great classic at Palace Cineplex this Sunday, December 11, at 11:30 a.m., as performed by the renowned Bolshoi Ballet Company, captured live directly from the Moscow stage in a grand encore performance.

Tickets are on sale at the participating office and via the web at www.palaceamusement.com with a Palace Card or any major credit card.