The Nutcracker and the Mouse King

Pyotr Tchaikovsky / Toer van Schayk, Wayne Eagling

  • Act I

    50 min.

  • Intermission

    20 min.

  • Act II

    50 min.

Duration: ca. 2 hrs

Ballet féerie in two acts
Libretto: Marius Petipa after E.T.A. Hoffmann’s story
World premiere: Mariinsky Theatre, Sankt Petersburg, 6 December 1892
Polish premiere: Teatr Nowości, Warsaw, 30 December 1922
Premiere of this production: Dutch National Ballet, Amsterdam, 13 December 1996
Premiere by the Polish National Ballet: Teatr Wielki, Warsaw, 25 November 2011

Quoted countless times in movies, TV shows, music, or even commercials – The Nutcracker is one of the most popular ballets in Europe and North America, and come Christmas season – the most popular. Clara’s dream about journeying with the Prince through the Land of Sweets captures the meaning of many of our dreams and wishes, especially as we wait for the first star to appear, to receive a gift from Santa Claus. We dream of adventure, good company, beauty, kindness, tenderness. We are given those by the Fruit Preserves Grove, the Marzipan Castle, the Lake of Roses. We also dream of magical transformation – and it is accomplished: the wooden Nutcracker turns into a Prince, the apartment becomes a wonderland. The story we see at Teatr Wielki is set in Warsaw, at the beginning of the nineteenth century. At the time E.T.A. Hoffmann, the author of the short story The Nutcracker, lived in Warsaw, in Freta Street. And it is in Warsaw that Toer van Schayk, the choreographer and set designer, sets his tale. Here, in an apartment with a view on the Royal Castle, the magic begins. The fairy-tale quality of Tchaikovsky’s music, heard especially in the fragment depicting the Sugar Plum Fairy’s dance, is enhanced by the sound of the celeste – a keyboard instrument invented at the end of the nineteenth century. Tchaikovsky was the first great composer to use celeste in his music.



Polish National Ballet
Orchestra of the Teatr Wielki  Polish National Opera
Artos Children’s Choir 


  • Patron of Teatr Wielki - Polish National Opera

  • Partners of Teatr Wielki - Polish National Opera

  • Partner of Polish National Ballet

  • Media patrons of Teatr Wielki - Polish National Opera

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