The Nutcracker Story
The first scene occurs at the house of a well-to-do family in a small town in Germany. The President of the Town Council, Herr Silberhaus, and his wife are having a party for their family and friends. Councilor Drosselmeyer, an eccentric but kindhearted old man arrives and distributes presents to the children. Among her gifts, Clara, President Silberhaus‚ daughter, receives a nutcracker in the shape of a man that cracks nuts between his jaws. Clara‚s brother snatches the nutcracker from her and breaks it, leaving Clara heartbroken.
After the guests depart and Clara has gone to bed, she cannot forget the broken nutcracker. She creeps downstairs and when the clock strikes midnight, she is startled to see mice appearing from all corners of the living room. Clara watches in amazement as soldiers and the nutcracker come to life to battle the mice. The fighting reaches a climax when Clara strikes the Mouse King to the floor with her slipper. With their leader fallen, the mice disperse. The victory that Clara has brought about breaks the spell on the nutcracker, transforming him into a gallant prince. Turning to her gratefully, the prince invites Clara to accompany him to the Kingdom of the Sweets, where the Sugar Plum Fairy reigns as queen.
In Act II, Clara and the Prince have reached the Kingdom of the Sweets and are received in the great hall of the Sugarplum Fairy‚s castle. When the Prince reveals how Clara saved his life, the entire court greets her with acclaim. Clara is escorted to a miniature throne to view the presentation that has been prepared in her honor. Delicacies of the Kingdom of the Sweets appear. Chocolate, coffee and tea are represented by Spanish, Arabian and Chinese dancers. Other dances follow Ų a lively Russian trepak, dance of the merlitons (penny whistles), Mother Ginger (the French equivalent of the Old Woman who lived in a shoe) and her children, the beautiful Waltz of the Flowers, and the great pas de deux by the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier. In the finale, the courtiers of the kingdom kneel in homage to Clara for rescuing their Prince. The ballet concludes with a brilliant waltz.
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