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Estonian National Opera premieres long forgotten version of 'The Nutcracker'

Hungarian choreographer Gyula Harangozó's modern version of one of the most brilliant and heartwarming Christmas classics, "The Nutcracker," hit the stage of the Estonian National Opera on the first of Advent.

In order to make this ballet contemporary again, we have to go back to its roots, Harangozó said.

"It sounds like a contradiction, but it is not. When 'The Nutcracker' was performed in St. Petersburg about 150 years ago, there was a very big difference between the first act and the rest of the performance. The first act was a 'here and now' situation with a 19th century Christmas party where children could recognize everything they saw on stage. The rest of the ballet was a dream, a fairy tale, where anything could happen without limits. This duality disappeared over time and the whole performance became a fairy tale," the choreographer explained.

In line with the original performance, Harangozó staged the first act as here and now, in the present moment, "hoping that children would quickly connect with the ballet and find many familiar things on stage, from the costumes and environment to video games and modern toys."

"The second half of the performance is a classic version inspired by the choreography of Vassili Vainonen, so as not to disappoint the expectations of true fans of the classics," Harangozó said.

Linnar Looris, artistic director of the Estonian National Ballet, said that keeping up with the times is necessary for development, and so the decision was made to add a new version of "The Nutcracker" to the repertoire.

The production's set and video designer is Kentaur (Hungary), costume designer Rita Velich (Hungary), lighting designer Rasmus Rembel and music director Kaspar Mänd.

Starring in the premiere were Joel Calstar-Fisher as Prince Nutcracker, Ami Morita as Klara and Ali Urata as Drosselmeier. William Newton as Prince Nutcracker, Anna Roberta as Klara and Francesco Piccini as Drosselmeier will soon be seen in the same roles.

Estonian National Opera Premieres New "The Nutcracker." Source: Rünno Lahesoo

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Editor: Karmen Rebane, Kristina Kersa

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