On Christmas Eve, a little girl named Marie (Cohen) falls asleep after a party at her home and dreams herself (or does she?) into a fantastic world where toys become larger than life. Her ... See full summary »
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On Christmas Eve, a little girl named Marie (Cohen) falls asleep after a party at her home and dreams herself (or does she?) into a fantastic world where toys become larger than life. Her beloved Nutcracker (Culkin) comes to life and defends her from the Mouse King, then is turned into a Prince after Marie saves his life. Written by
This version of the ballet, an adaptation of the famous George Balanchine staging presented annually in New York City, is the only well-known American production of "The Nutcracker" to use children in the roles of Marie (known as Clara in most versions) and the Nutcracker/Prince, so the roles are not choreographed to be as technically demanding as in other productions of the ballet. The original 1892 Russian production also used children. Several other productions, including the recent Helgi Tomasson one for the San Francisco Ballet, have taken their cue from Balanchine and cast a little girl in the role of Clara, but in the Tomasson version, Clara is magically transformed into an adult in Act II so that she can dance the pas de deux with the Prince (danced in the Tomasson production by an adult). Many other productions (especially Russian ones) now cast adults as the Nutcracker/Prince and the girl, usually known as Clara rather than Marie, so that there is an adult love interest between the couple. See more »
In the opening credits, Macaulay Culkin is listed as playing Drosselmayer's nephew, but he is not listed as playing either The Nutcracker or The Prince. See more »
As far as I can recall, Balanchine's alterations to Tchaikovsky's score are as follows:
1) The final section of the Grossvatertanz (a traditional tune played at the end of a party) is repeated several times to give the children a last dance before their scene is over.
2) A violin solo, written for but eliminated from Tchaikovsky's score for The Sleeping Beauty, is interpolated between the end of the party scene and the beginning of the transformation scene. Balanchine chose this music because of its melodic relationship to the music for the growing Christmas tree that occurs shortly thereafter.
3) The solo for the Sugar Plum Fairy's cavalier is eliminated.
It seems to me the accusation that Balanchine has somehow desecrated Tchaikovsky's great score is misplaced.
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