Based on: E.T.A. Hoffman's "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King"
The Nutcracker Plot & Roles
*Classical ballets have evolved over time, lending themselves to different interpretations as choreographers and directors create works that reflect their visions of the story. The following is intended to provide general information; for details on different versions, click on each of the Nutcracker performances below.
PRINCIPAL CHARACTERS IN THE NUTCRACKER (in alphabetical order)
Clara: Daughter to Mr. & Mrs. Stahlbaum
Drosselmeyer: Godfather to Clara
Fritz: Brother to Clara
The Mouse King: Antagonist of The Nutcracker Prince
The Nutcracker Prince: Antagonist of The Mouse King
The Sugarplum Fairy: Ruler of the Land of the Sweets
THE NUTCRACKER SYNOPSIS
⊙ ACT I, SCENE 1: THE STAHLBAUM HOME
On Christmas Eve, the Stahlbaums are celebrating with friends and family when the curious Drosselmeyer arrives to their home. Bringing gifts for the all the children, he has a very special one for his Goddaughter Clara; it is a wooden Nutcracker doll with which the young girl immediately falls in love with. When the party finishes, Clara sneaks back to the living room in order to be reunited with her beloved toy. She falls into a deep slumber and dreams of how her Nutcracker leads a battle of victory over the Mouse King and his army of mice. He then transitions into a Prince and takes her on a journey.
⊙ ACT I, SCENE 2: THE PINE FOREST
As they travel through the Pine Forest, Clara and her Prince are surrounded by the beauty of the snowflakes that fall all around them and ultimately reach their destination – The Land of the Sweets.
⊙ ACT II: THE LAND OF THE SWEETS
Upon arrival, Clara and the Prince are greeted by the Sugarplum Fairy. The guests are presented with delightful treasures from all around the world – Spanish chocolates, Arabian coffee, Chinese Tea, Russian Candy Canes – and are entertained by French Mirlitons and Mother Ginger with her Polichinelles. The Dewdrop Fairy leads the flowers in a beautiful waltz, and the Sugarplum Fairy and her Cavalier close out the performance.
Many versions of The Nutcracker include some sort of epilogue during which Clara wakes from her dream.
★ INTERESTING FACT ★ Although THE NUTCRACKER made its debut in 1892 (in St. Petersburg, Russia), the first production in the United States – choreographed by William Christensen – was performed by San Francisco Ballet in 1944. It is a staple of ballet companies around the world.