A Christmas Story, A Nutcracker, A Mouse, And A Ballet Copy

So, let me regale you this Christmas season with the rich history of this ballet.

Most people know the Nutcracker as a musical written by Tchaikovsky, the Russian composer, in 1892, and little else. In fact, Tchaikovsky only wrote the music; about nine months before the ballet, which was choreographed by Marius Petipa.

The original story, named the Nutcracker and the Mouse King, was written by ETA Hoffman in Germany in 1816. His version was considered “dark and disturbing” and even “creepy.” I read the plot for the Hoffman tale, and he could put Stephen King to shame.

The ballet was unsuccessful initially, though Tchaikovsky’s music, which was debuted before the ballet, was considered a classic score. Tchaikovsky, however, was unimpressed with the music he produced for it. In a letter to his employer, he complained “the awareness that things are not going well torments me and agonizes me to tears, to the point of sickness… As we now know, it would become a classic. Through years of adaptations, the ballet and its music have become a Christmas staple.