The Nutcracker - Tchaikovsky's Triumph

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In the world of ballet, one performance reigns supreme. And it involves nuts.

Tchaikovsky's adapted version of the classic E. T. A. Hoffmann story "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King" ended up being the biggest ballet act in the world. Only, it was a bit of a bust in the beginning.

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“To regret the past, to hope in the future, and never to be satisfied with the present: that is what I spend my whole life doing”― Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky


At its St. Petersburg premier in December of 1892, the Nutcracker ballet failed to rack up much in the way of adulation.

In lieu of roses, such unfortunate descriptors as "lopsided," "ponderous" and "insipid" were thrown its way. Also, the use of children throughout much of the performance was frowned upon.

Apparently Victorian-era highbrows hated kids.

Tchaikovsky's glorious score for the production was much better received, though it too was, to a degree, labeled "insipid."

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“Truly there would be reason to go mad were it not for music.”― Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky


Come 1944, nearly a century later, a reworked version of the Nutcracker would bring the obscure release to prominence. From then on, the same beautiful ballet that everyone turned their noses up to in 1892 has become the ballet industry's single greatest draw year after year.

Now, this classic creation is a Christmas sensation - staged each and every year at the turn of the season. And so far, attendees have insisted on not calling it 'insipid.'

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