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 a story by E. T. A. Hoffmann
World premiere of this production: 13 December 1996, Dutch National Ballet, Amsterdam
Polish premiere of this production: 25 November 2011, Polish National Ballet

Many will see it as a prop hailing from the idyllic land of childhood, an archaic artefact reminiscent of the analogue times akin to the wooden chessboard, cigarette holder, and tobacco pipe. It is, indeed, a grandfather of today’s everyday objects, an item that remembers the good old days preceding video gaming, e-cigarettes, and packaged peanuts, an item that would crack nuts open unlocking the memories of Christmas past, the scents of pine tree, hot chocolate, and gingerbread. For the children of the Eastern bloc, the 1973 animated version of The Nutcracker directed by Boris Stepantsev was a blockbuster holiday classic comparable to Home Alone – a tale of magic, love, and cruelty. (The seven-headed Mouse Kind and his army were enough to satisfy the little ones’ desire for thrill.) The creators of this production of Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s world-famous ballet wanted to remind the audience of the Romantic masterpiece’s links to Warsaw. As the legend goes, E.T.A Hoffmann came up with the idea for the hallucinatory tale that later inspired the libretto when living in an old townhouse in Warsaw’s New Town. ‘What gaudiness! It’s too noisy, too strange, too alien – everything’s mismatched,’ he complained, describing the city. ‘How will I find time to write?’ Somehow he did, thank goodness!



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


  • Patrons of Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera

  • Partners of the Opera Academy

  • Partners of Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera

  • Partner of the Polish National Ballet

  • Media patrons