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The Nutcracker and the Mouse King

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This listing is in the past
OpernhausFalkenstrasse 1, Zürich, 8008, Switzerland
2018 December 11 19:00, December 15 19:00, December 26 20:00, December 29 19:30, 2019 January 01 15:00, 19:30

Thanks to Piotr Tchaikovsky’s catchy music, The Nutcracker is one of the most popular works in the ballet repertoire.

The plot is based on a fairy tale by E.T.A. Hoffmann, one of the most famous writers of German Romanticism. However, while Hoffmann masterfully alternates between dream and reality and interweaves several narrative levels in his text, the story lost much of its fantastical, lugubrious romanticism on its way to becoming a ballet libretto. In most ballet productions since the première, the second act, for example, consists only of a practically plotless divertimento consisting of a series of dances and stage effects.

Christian Spuck was more interested in E.T.A. Hoffmann’s sinister fantasy than producing a saccharine Christmas ballet. In his version for Zurich Ballet, he wished to redirect the focus on to the original literary model. He therefore also reinstated the tale of Princess Pirlipat, who has been transformed into a nut monster, which E.T.A. Hoffmann tells as a background prequel to the Nutcracker.

In the workshop of Godfather Drosselmeier, which is reminiscent of an old-fashioned revue theatre in the set by Rufus Didwiszus, the figures in the ballet are given a new lease of life. Christian Spuck’s choreography plays with the great richness of figures in E.T.A. Hoffmann’s narrative cosmos, their bizarreness and energetic humour, but at the same time also gazes into the sombre depths of Romanticism.

Yen Han and Matthew Knight (Clowns) and William Moore (Nutcracker), Nutcracker and the Mouse King © Gregory Batardon
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