The Bolshoi orchestra is the pride of Russia's performing culture. Its performance is marked by faultless technique and the finest sense of ensemble. It involves first-class musicians, many of whom are winners of international competitions and teachers of musical institutions. The Bolshoi choir performance is highly successful and it forms an important element of any ballet.
The basic libretto ot the Nutcracker has as many interpretations as there are staged versions The characters' names often change and plot twists are added. The only constant is the music. Tchaikovsky's musical genius created one of the most recognizable and enduring scores ever written. An abbreviated version, the Nutcracker Suite, is one of the most recorded selections in classical repertoire. In the final analysis, it is the music that has truly given the Nurcracker a life of its own.
The Nutcracker is set in Western Europe during the 1800's. A doctor and town Mayor, Hans Stahlbaum delights in holding large holiday gatherings for family and friends. His two children, Clara and Fritz, anxiously await the arrival of guests. The snow evokes a pleasant festive atmosphere as the guests arrive. Tardy as always, Clara's godfather, Herr Drosselmeyer arrives with special fanfare. He causes quite a stir and then entertains and delights all onlookers with his exquisite mechanical dolls. All the children receive gifts with Fritz getting a rocking hobby train. A bit jealous, Clara approaches Drosselmeyer for her gift. He teases her with a presentation of a mother mouse. Fritz pulls a baby mouse from the mother mouse's apron and sends Clara scampering. Drosselmeyer quickly makes amends and presents Clara with an unusual prize, a colourful Nutcracker. Delighted, Clara instantly is enthralled with the gift. Sibling rivalry takes hold and in a tussle to wrest the Nutcracker away from Clara, Fritz breaks him. Drosselmeyer repairs the poor Nutcracker, but Clara is disappointed. Drosselmeyer promises that all will be well. Evening overtakes the party and the guests depart. Clara is shooed to bed. All is quiet in the Stahlbaum resideny, or is it? Clara has awakened and longing for her Nutcracker comes back to the living room. She quickly finds her doll and falls asleep again. There begins her magical dream...
Recorded by the Russian State Academic Bolshoi Theatre
Conductor: Alexander Kopilov
Soloists: Ekatherina Maximova, Vladimir Wasiliev
Producer: Youri Grigorovitch