Dutch National Ballet presents
03 Jun 12:00
ENCHANTING AND HEART-WARMING
A heart-warming fairy-tale ballet to lighten the dark days of winter, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King is a choreography by Toer van Schayk and Wayne Eagling based on the Christmas classic, and one of the most successful Dutch theatre productions of all time.
Eagling and Van Schayk's creative retelling of Hoffmann's Nutcracker transports the classic tale to Holland. Instead of Christmas Eve, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King unfolds on the Dutch feast of Sinterklaas around 1810 in Amsterdam, while ice skaters dash and twirl across the frozen canals.
In their canal-side house in Amsterdam, Clara Staalboom, her little brother Frits and their elder sister Louise are getting ready to celebrate Sinterklaas evening. Outside on the canal, skaters twirl around on the ice. Meanwhile, their guests arrive, including the eccentric Mr Drosselmeijer and his nephew, a young cadet. Clara's Sinterklaas gift is a nutcracker doll, while Frits gets a soldier's uniform complete with a sword. In bed that night, Clara dreams that she has grown into a lovely young woman and that her nutcracker doll comes to life as Drosslemeijer's nephew. Together, they take up arms against the forces of the mouse king, and then are whisked away in Drosselmeijer's magic lantern on a whirlwind tour of exotic lands.
Technical tour de force
Toer van Schayk also designed the sets and costumes for this Nutcracker production, transporting the audience to a world of merriment and magic. His staging is both a visual and technical tour de force in the history of Dutch National Ballet. The skaters on the Amsterdam canal, the living room that swells in Clara's dream and the walls that transform into a snow-dusted forest are all scenes sure to awaken and delight in the child in everyone.
Legend: nutcracker to guard against evil spirits
According to an old German folk legend, the gift of a nutcracker brought good fortune and protection. Nutcrackers symbolised strength and courage, and their sharp teeth (used to crack nuts) kept evil spirits at bay. They were also emblems of the cycle of life: the seed of the nut cracked between their jaws gave rise to a strong tree, which not only produced more nuts but also furnished the material from which woodcarvers fashioned new nutcracker dolls. Down the centuries, this German folk tale has inspired countless writers, composers and other artists. Most famous of all is the ballet version based on the fairy tale by E.T.A Hoffman. Ever since the original version by Marius Petipa and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky premièred in Russia in 1892, the Nutcracker has been danced on stage year in, year out – spreading from Russia and the English-speaking world to become a beloved Christmastime classic around the globe.
The Nutcracker and the Mouse King
Choreography Wayne Eagling en Toer van Schayk
Music Pjotr Iljitsj Tsjaikovski
Dutch Ballet Orchestra
conducted by Koen Kessels/
Dutch Ballet Orchestra
Since its inception in 1965, the orchestra has been proud to accompany its partners, Dutch National Ballet and Nederlands Dans Theater. The working method is unique in the Netherlands. Dutch Ballet Orchestra, with Matthew Rowe as principal conductor, consists of a regular core of 45 musicians, supported where necessary by highly qualified guest performers. This gives the orchestra its unique character: flexible, dynamic and high-quality. Dutch Ballet Orchestra combines music and dance into a magical experience: from classical ballet to modern dance, and from music education to talent development. The orchestra’s mission is to create an optimal synthesis between music and dance, in order to reach dance-lovers and ballet music enthusiasts, as well as children and youngsters. The orchestra has received several international awards for its educational projects, including the Young Audiences Music Award in 2016 for Creatures, a collaborative project with dance company ISH.
Nieuw Amsterdams Kinderkoor
The Nieuw Amsterdams Kinderkoor is the regular youth chorus of Dutch National Opera & Ballet and part of Nieuw Vocal Amsterdam, a classical voice training programme for ages 4 to 21. In the 2019-2020 season the Nieuw Amsterdams Kinderkoor is singing in the operas Pagliacci, Die Frau ohne Schatten and Carmen and the ballet Nutcracker & Mouse King. The chorus is also singing during the Open Day and the Children's Choir Day.
‘Here is a child's fantasy land. And it works, even for adults’
‘A celebration for all ages’