15-22 Dec 2004. In The Nutcracker, choreography by Rudolf Nureyev. All choreographers are, or have been, dancers but not all dancers are choreographers. With his enormous energy and talent and interests it was inevitable that Nureyev would turn to creation as well as interpretation. He created The Nutcracker for the Royal Swedish Ballet in 1967 and revised it the following year for the Royal Ballet. It was a drastic transformation: the ballet, originally mounted in St Petersburg in 1892, had established itself as an international favourite, with an innocent charm that made it suitable for Christmas outings a tinselly entertainment to be viewed indulgently. Nureyev changed the whole tone by taking the subject and score which contains some of Tchaikovskys finest theatre music seriously. Aiming, as always, at a logical structure, he wove a twist into the story. It became the dream of a child-heroine who was also the ballerina a half-nightmare stemming from family tensions. And instead of scaling it down into an adults view of nursery fun, he blew it up into a vision of a childs imagination.

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Address Teatro degli Arcimboldi, tel. 0272003744.

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Balletto del Teatro alla Scala in The Nutcracker.

Teatro degli Arcimboldi, tel. 0272003744.