The Nutcracker by Francillon and Legris after Nureyev, Petipa, and Ivanov, music by Tchaikovsky

Nicoletta Manni (Clara) and Valerio Lunadei (The Nutcracker) — Teatro alla Scala Ballet Company

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Rudolf Nureyev — Choreographer

Aleth Francillon — Choreographer, stage director

Manuel Legris — Choreographer, stage director

Nicholas Georgiadis — Costume designer, scenography

Andrea Giretti — Lighting

Gabriele Corrado — Mr. Stahlbaurn

Beatrice Carbone — Mrs. Stahlbaum

Timofej Andrijashenko — Drosselmeyer, the Prince

Nicoletta Manni — Clara

Mattia Semperboni — Fritz

Vittoria Valerio — Luisa

Serena Sarnataro — The Grandmother

Massimo dalla Mora — The Grandfather

Valerio Lunadei — Nutcracker

Gioacchino Starace — The Mouse king

Corpo di ballo del Teatro alla Scala

Program notes

In 2023, The Nutcracker—brimming with holiday spirit, timeless Tchaikovsky tunes, enchanted toys, and balletic grace—returns to La Scala! For the first time since 2006, the legendary choreography of Tchaikovsky's cherished classic by Rudolf Nureyev, featuring the iconic final pas de deux originally danced by Nureyev and Merle Park, is finally back on one of the world's most prestigious stages with acclaimed principal Valerio Lunadei in the title role and Nicoletta Manni as Clara!

After the well-known versions by George Balanchine and Nacho Duato, Nureyev's intricately choreographed, psychologically charged direction of this Christmas fable par excellence—inspired by E.T.A. Hoffmann's story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King—meets and exceeds our high expectations. The great Russian choreographer's central idea is well-known: what if the charming Prince and shadowy Uncle Drosselmeyer were performed by one dancer, as if two sides of the same personality? Freud would have watched, rapt, from the front row… "In her dream," explains Aleth Francillon—a former étoile dancer chosen by Nureyev to play Clara at La Scala's 1987 Nutcracker—"Clara discovers her femininity while imagining Drosselmeyer as a masculine ideal. I spoke at length with Nureyev about his psychoanalytic vision of the ballet, which removes the original version's sugar coating."

La Scala offers up a Nutcracker that evokes the fears we feel when faced with a rite of passage, probing the depths of our thoughts and reminding us of the intimate value of shared symbols and archetypes. The Nutcracker at La Scala: a finely nuanced take on a beloved holiday classic that will surprise and delight at every turn!

Photo © Marco Brescia & Rudy Amisano

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