The Magic Nut: A Prologue to The Nutcracker

Multi-disciplined artist Mihail Chemiakin's exquisitely drawn costume sketches, stage sets and production design come to life in this extraordinary record of the two-act ballet premiered in St. Petersburg's Mariinsky Theater in 2005. Based on The Story of a Hard Nut from the Nutcracker and the Mouse King by E.T.A. Hoffmann, The Magic Nut is a ballet conceived by artist Mihail Chemiakin as a prologue to The Nutcracker in which we learn how the Nutcracker comes to be. Here Chemiakin tells the story of The Nutcracker's origins creating a fairy tale with a cast of bird-people, sea monsters, satyrs, cats, jellyfish, and, of course, a whole society of rats. In this phantasmagorical interpretation of Hoffman's tale the audience discovers the kind and heroic qualities of young Drosselmeyer, fated to be turned into a Nutcracker for his virtuous deeds. The story contains many of the elements of the classic fairy tale but the anticipated happy ending is ultimately postponed - until the story continues in the Tchaikovsky ballet. The book leads the reader through the ballet, scene by scene, with detailed sketches of the sets, costumes, masks and props created for the production. A virtuoso of invention, of expression through color and unexpected interpretation, the work of Chemiakin could not be better fitted to fairytales. Humorous and engaging, the colorful drawings featured here will delight ballet fans, costume designers, students of theater and art lovers alike.