Nutcracker - The Story of Clara

Nutcracker - The Story of Clara, brilliantly designed by Kristian Fredrikson, will be part of The 2017 SEASON OF THE AUSTRALIAN BALLET.


A joyful celebration of ballet, a deeply moving life story, and an affectionately humorous depiction of the emigrant experience are masterfully interwoven in Graeme Murphy’s Nutcracker – The Story of Clara.

Created in 1992 for The Australian Ballet by one of the country’s most audacious and prolific choreographers, this ballet has become a modern Australian classic.

The company celebrates the 25th anniversary of this quintessentially Australian production with seasons at the Sydney Opera House from the 2-20 May, and at the Arts Centre Melbourne from 2 -10 June.

Nutcracker – The Story of Clara departs from its whimsical fore-bear to tell a story grounded in real-world events and the history of ballet in Australia. In Murphy’s radical retelling, Clara is an elderly Russian emigrant and former prima ballerina, dreaming of her earlier days with love and sadness one feverishly hot Australian Christmas Eve in the late 1950s. Her story encompasses romance and loss, worldwide fame, war and revolution, and a journey to Australia which leads to her joining the nation’s earliest professional ballet company, sowing the seeds of The Australian Ballet.

In this two-act story ballet, the character of Clara is performed by three different dancers spanning the generations, seamlessly coming together and parting ways over the course of Clara’s recollections.

Nuanced set and costume designs by Kristian Fredrikson evoke the formative places in her life, from her Russian childhood to her retirement in sunburnt Australia. The world of Clara’s youth is rich in dreamlike details, with snowflakes whirling about the stage in fluttering white head-dresses, and giant golden blooms adorning the walls of the Tsar’s lavish ballroom.

The much loved score by Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is at the very centre of this production as the catalyst for Clara’s nostalgic recollections, and the accompaniment to her fondest memories of performing.

A distinctly Australian inclusion in The Australian Ballet’s 2017 Season.

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