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The Nutcracker (2008)

Author-designer Mikhail Shemiakin's sinister re-imagining of Tchaikovsky's beloved Christmas ballet.


Denis Caïozzi


Marius Petipa (libretto and script plan), Mikhail Shemiakin (adapted by) | 1 more credit »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Valery Gergiev ... Himself - Conductor
Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra ... Themselves - Orchestra (as The Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra)
Vladimir Ponomarev Vladimir Ponomarev ... Herr Stahlbaum, Counsellor of State / The Rat Emperor
Elena Bashenova Elena Bashenova ... Frau Stahlbaum, his Wife / The Rat Empress
Irina Golub Irina Golub ... Masha
Anton Lukovkin Anton Lukovkin ... Fritz / Napoleon, Commander of the Rat Army
Anton Adasinsky ... Herr Drosselmeyer
Leonid Sarafanov Leonid Sarafanov ... The Nutcracker Prince
Natalya Sveshnikova Natalya Sveshnikova ... The Nanny (as Natalia Sveshnikova)
Igor Petrov Igor Petrov ... The Cook
Tatiana Goryunova Tatiana Goryunova ... Two Kitchen Maids
Ilmira Bagautdinova Ilmira Bagautdinova ... Two Kitchen Maids
Eduard Gusev Eduard Gusev ... The Fly-Person
Andrei Yakovlev Andrei Yakovlev ... Kryselieu, the Rat Cardinal
Ekaterina Kondaurova Ekaterina Kondaurova ... The Queen of the Snowflakes / Arabian Dancer


This version of "The Nutcracker" gives the classic ballet a tragic spin, with Masha (instead of Clara) now the unloved, unappreciated daughter of the Town Council President. At a Christmas party, Masha is given a seemingly alive Nutcracker by her Uncle Drosselmeyer, and Masha instantly is enchanted with it. The toys come to life at midnight, and after Masha helps the Nutcracker defeat attacking mice, he takes her to his kingdom, where he is later revealed to be a handsome Prince. The Prince and Masha fall deeply in love, but their "happy ending" has a morbid twist not found in any other "Nutcracker". Written by Albert Sanchez Moreno a.moreno@mindspring.com

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Fantasy | Music | Romance



Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



Russia | France

Release Date:

18 November 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Nutcracker See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Also presented in High Definition in certain movie theaters. See more »


The Nutcracker
(complete ballet)
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conducted by Valery Gergiev
Played by the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A Nutcracker with no joy or subtlety of any kind
6 February 2013 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

The Nutcracker is one of the all-time greats in the ballet genre(all three Tchaikovsky ballets are actually). There are many great productions of the Nutcracker around on DVD, in fact there was only one I disliked and that was the self-indulgent Maurice Bejart production. I thought I'd never see a production worse than that one, but with this one from the Mariinsky I have just found it. The music is phenomenal, and the orchestra do perform it beautifully, and Irina Golub does make an attempt to bring some personal charm and elegance to Masha. Unfortunately, the rest of the dancers are completely wasted, including Leonid Sarafanov as the Prince who has to wear a mask for much of the production. The choreography does not help them at all, it is so weak here that you'd be hard pressed to find anything that resembles choreography really. Much of it is writhing about and flailing arms, actions that are more at place in a horror film and don't gel at all with the style and feeling of the music.

I highly admire Valery Gergiev's Tchaikovsky(and most Russian composers actually) conducting- his Tchaikovsky 5th symphony finale, which you can see on Youtube, is electrifying- but as much as the music is as good as it is and well performed, Gergiev tries very hard to be faithful to the spirit Tchaikovsky's score and to mesh well with the action on stage but for all his efforts it often sounds as too much of a dirge. And then there are the production values, which are just hideous. The first half is ugly, overly-dark, grotesque stuff, and while the second half is not quite as bad it still read of something like Disney on the verge of insanity, too over-saturated, gaudy and cartoonish. We even have a rat dressed as a cardinal and Drosselmeyer looking like Nosferatu resurrected(if you're confused, don't worry, you and I are in the same boat).

Overall, I love The Nutcracker and I don't mind something different once in a while, but this was an example of different done terribly. 3/10 Bethany Cox

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