The Australian Ballet Presents THE NUTCRACKER In Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney
The Australian Ballet is set to enchant audiences young and old with one of its most beloved ballets, Sir Peter Wright's The Nutcracker. The company will be presenting The Nutcracker at Arts Centre Melbourne from 17 to 28 September, Adelaide Festival Centre from 8 to 12 October and Sydney Opera House from 30 November to 18 December - just in time for Christmas.
Originally created for the Birmingham Royal Ballet in 1990, Sir Peter Wright's version is a visual masterpiece. Last performed by The Australian Ballet in 2014, The Nutcracker was first staged by the company in 2007 and quickly became a favourite in its repertoire.
With its magical characters and iconic musical score, The Nutcracker combines world-class ballet and theatrical spectacle: intricate sets, exquisite costumes, powerful music, virtuoso choreography and world-class dancers. The meticulously detailed costumes and sets were designed by John F Macfarlane; each Sugar Plum Fairy costume features 10,000 hand-sewn beads, and more than 600 metres of hand-dyed fabric was used to create the Snowflake costumes.
The Australian Ballet's Artistic Director David McAllister says: "It will be a true pleasure to revive Peter Wright's glorious production of this Christmas classic. Sir Peter's beautiful and detailed choreography is partnered so perfectly with John F Macfarlane's evocative designs, making this a jewel of a ballet."
Sir Peter Wright's ballets stand the test of time and his productions continue to be staged across the globe each year. The 93-year-old ex-dancer and choreographer was the longest-serving artistic director of the Sadlers Wells Ballet/Birmingham Royal Ballet where he still holds the title of Director Laureate.
The Nutcracker was Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's last great score for ballet and buoys the action onstage with some of the most memorable melodies in ballet, including the celebrated Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, which famously uses the tinkling sound of the celeste to heighten the otherworldly delicacy of the Fairy.
Thanks to the generosity of donors, The Australian Ballet's partnering orchestra, Orchestra Victoria, has for the first time acquired a Schiedmayer celeste that will be used for The Nutcracker season.
Artistic Director and Chief Conductor Fraillon says: "Tchaikovsky wrote some of the most exquisite theatrical scores of all time and his genius was unparalleled in the 19th century. One of his masterstrokes was the usage of the celeste, importing one from France especially for opening night. It will be magical for us to finally experience this incredible instrument in the famed Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy."
The Nutcracker is the picture-perfect finale to The Australian Ballet's Year of Enchantment.
Clara, a 15-year old ballet student, is celebrating Christmas Eve with her family when her uncle, the mystical magician Drosselmeyer, arrives and bestows gifts of lifelike dolls, who entertain the guests with their antics. To Clara's delight, Drosselmeyer gives her a nutcracker doll. The guests depart and Clara suddenly sees herself surrounded by a fantasy world, where the Christmas tree grows, and dolls and soldiers come to life to battle with giant mice. She sees her nutcracker doll leading the battle and being attacked by the Mouse King. She throws her slipper at the Mouse, liberating the Nutcracker, who turns into a Prince. They embark on a magical journey, their first stop being the Land of Snow, where snowflakes waltz around them in patterns, as if blown by the wind. When the clock strikes midnight, the Nutcracker turns into a prince and whisks her away from marauding rats to the magical Lands of Snow and Sweets.
Clara and her Nutcracker Prince arrive at the Kingdom of Sweets, where they are greeted by the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Prince Cavalier. They are invited to watch a series of divertissements representing exotic travels and various different sweets, along with the dance of the Mirlitons and the Waltz of the Flowers. The celebrations close with the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Prince dancing a grand pas de deux. The curtain falls on Clara waking up back at home wondering whether it was all just a dream.
17 - 28 September
Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre with Orchestra Victoria
8 - 12 October
Adelaide Festival Centre with Adelaide Symphony Orchestra
30 November - 18 December
Sydney Opera House, Joan Sutherland Theatre
with Opera Australia Orchestra
Bookings via australianballet.com.au