Many families have a Christmas tradition of watching the ballet The Nutcracker, whether it's a live stage performance or even the version shown on television. The Nutcracker character has also enjoyed enormous popularity in the past couple of years, although the work the ballet is based on has not been very successful.
The original Nutcracker story is no longer easy entertainment
The Nutcracker story was written by Etta Hoffmann in 1816 under the title The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, and published in Berlin. In the play, a girl named Mary is worried that her beautiful nutcracker statue is broken, so she goes to check it at night. To his surprise, the figure came back to life, and a fight began between the mice and the toy soldiers, as Mary and the Nutcracker were attracted. Finally, they defeat the Mouse King and go together to the Doll Kingdom, where Mary confesses her love for the Nutcracker, who then comes back to life.
The story has a real happy ending, but the atmosphere of the novel itself was far from cheerful. The family in the story was called Stahlbaum, which means steel tree, which is also an explanation of the strict family rules that Marie must follow. He rebels against these when he goes to his game at night and enters another, freer world. However, this world is not just fun and laughter, it is often scary and depressing. In the 1844 version by French writer Alexandre Dumas, this world is presented as more peaceful, and the ballet created by Tchaikovsky makes the entire play more like a fairy tale.
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Some important changes
The family in the story received a new name in ballet. Instead of the more difficult word Stahlbaum, meaning steel wood, it is called Silberhaus, meaning silver house. Another important change compared to the original work is that in Hoffmann's story, Marie finally chooses the other world instead of her own. A world where you can make decisions according to your imagination. On the other hand, in the adaptations, the girl eventually wakes up from the dream and lives with her family.
Perhaps thanks to these changes, as well as the attractive music and beautiful scenery, The Nutcracker was a great success in ballet form. True, not immediately, only a few decades after the presentation. Even in the United States, it only became popular after performances in New York in the 1950s. But since then, the popularity of the work has remained uninterrupted, which you can read about in our previous article.
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(Image source: Getty Images Hungary, Wikipedia)