PRAGUE – Since its premiere in St. Petersburg 125 years ago, Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky’s ballet “The Nutcracker” has become a staple of the Christmas calendar as festivities sweep across Europe, with images released by epa on Sunday providing a behind-the-scenes glimpse into one such production as performed by the Czech National Ballet at the National Theatre in Prague.
The Russian composer’s score for the ballet, which was adapted from E. T. A. Hoffmann’s tale of a young girl, Clara, and her fantastic adventures with a anthropomorphic wooden nutcracker who magically springs to life, provided the genre with some of its most recognizable melodies, some of which have become nearly synonymous with the Christmas season.
Performers from the Czech National Ballet use the backstage areas to warm-up, stretch and apply make-up during rehearsals for the “The Nutcracker,” as documented by epa images.
The artificial snow dusting the scenery and the festive decorations sprinkled across the stage capture the holiday spirit that has come to be associated with this classic ballet.
Prague’s National Theatre, which first opened in 1881, overlooks the Vltava River that runs through central Prague.
The inaugural performance Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” took place at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia on Dec. 18, 1892.
Tchaikovsky’s other famous works include the ballets “Swan Lake,” “Sleeping Beauty” and his “1812 Overture.”