The idea for The Nutcracker ballet came from the one-time director of the Tsarist theatre who, based on E.T.A. Hoffmann’s fairy tale entitled the Nutcracker and the Mouse King, wanted to stage a fairy tale ballet that would surpass all that had gone before, both in sound and in spectacle. Tchaikovsky was asked to compose the music and after Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty his third and final ballet was also a great success. It was the six-movement suite of the music of The Nutcracker that was first performed in March 1892, and in December of the same year the spectacularly presented theatrical work was also performed. The Nutcracker has become the most frequently played ballet piece of all time.
On Christmas Eve Marie and her family are getting ready for the Christmas gathering. The children arrive one after the other and the exchanging of gifts begins. There are lots of nice toys, fairy tale figures and puppets under the tree. Drosselmeyer, the children’s fanciful godfather, presents Marie with a nutcracker puppet. Fritz, Marie’s brother is constantly making pranks. After the guests have left the house, the little girl sneaks back to the Christmas tree to be able to go to sleep with the new toy. Drosselmeyer sends her off into the magical world of dreams. In her dream the images of recent events, the puppets and toys come to life. Everything becomes giant and mice emerge from the gift boxes. The series of adventures begins. Later, Prince Nutcracker happily greets Marie, who in the meantime has grown into a beautiful young lady and sees many interesting things arriving at Cake Palace. The sometimes frightening and other times wonderful dreams of the little girl are presented in the story.