‘The Nutcracker’ Breaks Sales Record For National Ballet Of Canada

Today marks the 126 year anniversary to the original 1892 Russian production.

Ballet shoes and Christmas tree in the background.
IgorGolovniov / Shutterstock

Today marks the 126 year anniversary to the original 1892 Russian production.

The Nutcracker was created, and complemented, with a score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The ballet production has seen over 1.2 million people of all ages attend the show. This year, Broadway World reports that The Nutcracker sold completely out for the National Ballet of Canada. The show enjoyed record breaking sales as of late, maxing out at $4.5 million with 52,685 people attending.

This holiday favorite has actually sold out for the past four seasons, but this season in particular showed outstanding revenue. Only a limited number of standing room only tickets are available for $12 at 11:00 a.m. on the day of the much awaited performance — and the tickets must be purchased in person at the Four Seasons Centre box office. The Nutcracker will be on stage until December 30 of this year, and will show at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.

The libretto is adapted from E.T. Hoffman’s story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. As wildly popular as the production is today, such was not always the case. In fact, the original production was a total flop. Despite the production being a flop, the 20 minute suite that Tchaikovsky extracted from the ballet was a complete success. In fact, it went on to be one of his most famous compositions. It was not until much later, in the 1960s, that The Nutcracker began to become enormously popular. Currently, The Nutcracker is performed at countless ballet companies and school productions, especially during the Christmas season.

That first failed performance was held for a double premiere alongside Tchaikovsky’s final opera Iolanta on today’s date in 1892, making today — December 18, 2018 — the 126 year anniversary of The Nutcracker ballet production. It premiered at the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Riccardo Drigo conducted the performance, which starred Antonietta Dell’Era as the Sugar Plum Fairy, Stanislava Belinskaya as Clara, Sergei Legat as the Nutcracker Prince, and Timofey Stukolkin as Drosselmeyer. Very unlike today’s performances, the roles of children in the original production were actually played by real children, rather than adults. These children were students of the Imperial Ballet School in Saint Petersburg.

Various films have also been adapted for The Nutcracker. Disney’s Fantasia features a small segment dedicated to The Nutcracker Suite. In 1988, children’s favorite Care Bears saw an animated film titled Care Bears Nutcracker Suite. Even the horror genre has incorporated The Nutcracker into a film. The 2006 remake of Black Christmas featured snippets of “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” throughout, utilized as the protagonist’s ringtone as well as during the final credits.

Most recently, a Disney live action film is currently in theaters — one titled The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. Currently, Rotten Tomatoes gives the film only a 34 percent on the “Tomatometer,” and a 37 percent audience score.