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Dance

The genius of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker score

The enduring appeal of The Nutcracker. Tchaikovsky’s ravishing score is nothing less than the sound of Christmas

18 December 2021

9:00 AM

18 December 2021

9:00 AM

By all accounts, Tchaikovsky struggled to compose The Nutcracker. It wasn’t his idea of an effective ballet scenario, and he was unimpressed with the choreographer Marius Petipa’s prettified storyline. Mid-composition, he learned of the death of his younger sister Alexandra. ‘Even more than yesterday, I feel absolutely incapable of depicting the Kingdom of Sweets in music,’ he wrote.

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The Nutcracker is at the Royal Opera House (RB) until 8 January, the Coliseum (ENB) until 8 January, the Royal Albert Hall (BRB) from 28–31 December, at Sadler’s Wells (Matthew Bourne) until 30 January, and at the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, and touring (Scottish Ballet), until 12 February.

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