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The Nutcracker By Peter Tchaikovsky Essay

1603 words - 6 pages

Through hundreds of productions of The Nutcracker, that have thrilled several crowds, audiences have experienced the fear from oversized mice and the thrill of the Land of Sweets. Written by Tchaikovsky, The Nutcracker is danced around Christmas annually. The Nutcracker was inspired by and based on E.T.A. Hoffmann’s novel, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (“The Story of the Nutcracker Ballet”). A girl named Clara receives a nutcracker as a Christmas present who comes to life to fight the Mouse King. Clara journeys through the Land of Sweets as audiences are mesmerized by the dancers with the extravagant, flamboyant, exaggerated, and bizarre costumes, props, and heavy make-up perform the famous piece. But why has this ballet maintained its mass appeal since its first performance in 1892? Perhaps it is because in an effort to outstage previous performances, directors continue to integrate elements of expressionism like plot distortion and stylized acting to create a fantasy world.
The Nutcracker, written by Peter Ilych Tchaikovsky in 1891, was first performed a week before Christmas in 1892 (History of the Nutcracker). Born in Votkinsk, Russia, on May 7, 1840, Tchaikovsky, the son of a mining engineer, had only occasional musical training as a youth (“Peter Ilych Tchaikovsky” 1). Around the age of twenty-one, he did serious musical study and graduated with a silver medal from the St. Petersburg Conservatory(1). He published his first orchestral works, a symphony and an opera, by 1869 (1). Inspired by E. T. A. Hoffmann’s libretto, Tchaikovsky wrote his best-recognized ballet, The Nutcracker (“Peter Ilych Tchaikovsky” 2).The Nutcracker lends an ironic understatement to Tchaikovsky because of the ballet’s cheerfulness and Tchaikovsky’s various forms of mental stress he faced throughout his life (2). Tchaikovsky lived a depressed and unhappy life because he struggled with people calling him homosexual, marriage, being away from Russia, and being insulted often (2). His writing of plays and music served as his therapy. Therefore, his plays were cheerful which was ironic compared to his depression and mental stress that he faced during his life. Now, this ironic ballet has become the most popular to be performed around Christmas time (History of the Nutcracker).
This children’s fantasy relating how young Clara receives a nutcracker soldier for Christmas, which then magically comes alive to save her from the wicked Mouse King, created an exciting and fascinating ballet that has caught many audience’s attention throughout the years performed (“Peter Ilych Tchaikovsky” 2). After getting a nutcracker as a present for Christmas, Clara and her brother, Fritz, fight. The fight is caused by Fritz’s jealousy of the attention that Clara’s new nutcracker had gotten. During the fighting between the children, the nutcracker’s arm is broken. Their father, Drosselmeyer, fixes the nutcracker with a handkerchief. Clara, worried about her beloved nutcracker, sneaks...

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