Today is the 111th anniversary of the premiere of the Nutcracker.
It opened to not so rave reviews at the Imperial Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Well, at least there were rave reviews from the public. The critics weren’t so kind. But, in Czarist Russia, the critics were swiftly silenced since the Czarina found it “enchanting”.
It wasn’t considered a success at all. Some critics lauded Dell’Era’s, the ballerina who played THE Sugar Plum Fairy, pointework, and she did receive five curtain calls, but one called her pudgy and corpulent!
Another critic said the production was amateurish.
One said the production was lopsided and wasn’t faithful to the original tale by Hoffmann. And one Grinch was UPset that there were so many children in the story!
Seriously, are you kidding?
Nonetheless, the Czarina was happy and the critics shut UP!
So, how did Tchaikovsky’s (shown below) flop become the beloved Christmas Tradition it is today?
In 1919 Alexander Gorsky gave the Sugar Plum Fairy’s dances to Clara, who along with the Nutcracker Prince and adult dancers cast in the children’s roles changed the ballet/play/musical for ever.
Then of course it went to Broadway!
And they did it right!