Cairo Opera Ballet Company and Cairo Opera Orchestra
December 25th to 31st
Cairo Opera House – Main Hall
Time: 8 pm
The Nutcracker Ballet is based on the story “The Nutcracker and the King of Mice” written by E.T.A. Hoffman. Although what is seen on the stage today is different in detail from the original story, the basic plot remains the same; The story of a young German girl who dreams of a Nutcracker Prince and a fierce battle against a Mouse King with seven heads. When Marius Petipa had the idea to choreograph the story into a ballet, it was actually based on a revision by Alexander Dumas, the well-known French author.
The first performance of the ballet was held as a double premiere together with Tchaikovsky’s last opera, Iolanta, on 18 December 1892, at the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia. Although the libretto was by Marius Petipa, who exactly choreographed the first production has been debated. Petipa began work on the choreography in August 1892; however, illness removed him from its completion and his assistant of seven years, Lev Ivanov, was brought in. Although Ivanov is often credited as the choreographer, some contemporary accounts credit Petipa.
The children’s roles, unlike many later productions, were performed by real children rather than adults, students of Imperial Ballet School of St. Petersburg.
The first performance of The Nutcracker was not deemed a success.The reaction to the dancers themselves was ambivalent. Alexandre Benois described the choreography of the battle scene as confusing: “One can not understand anything. Disorderly pushing about from corner to corner and running backwards and forwards – quite amateurish.”
Today’s performance is much better organized and The Nutcracker Ballet is considered the most popular performance to be held during the Christmas Season.