ACT ONE, SCENE ONE
Uncle Drosselmeier is busy in his workshop, putting the finishing touches on Christmas gifts for the children. An air of mystery surrounds him as he creates wondrous dolls for the party.
ACT ONE, SCENE TWO
It is Christmas, 1886 in Nuremberg, Germany. The Silberhaus family is hosting a Christmas party for friends and relatives. The parents finish trimming the tree while the Governess attends to the children, Clara and Fritz. Mischievous Fritz torments his sister, mocking her devotion to dancing and even terrorizing her with his captured mice! The guests arrive, and the tree is lit.
As the party gets into full swing, a late arrival startles everyone. It is Uncle Drosselmeier, old family friend and godfather to Clara.
Not only does Drosselmeier perform magic tricks, he has brought along his mechanical dancing dolls - a Ballerina, Harlequin and Toy Soldier! Clara is especially fond of the Ballerina, as she has ambitions to become one herself. Uncle Drosselmeier now presents Clara with a special gift: a Nutcracker handsomely dressed as a soldier in the Kaiser's army.
Fritz is extremely jealous, and plots with some of his friends to steal the doll away. When he tries to snatch it, the Nutcracker smashes to the floor! Clara is devastated and runs to her mother in tears. Herr Silberhaus reprimands Fritz, while Drosselmeier mends the doll. Herr Silberhaus suggests a dance, and soon the Christmas spirit returns.
The hour grows late, and the children sleepy. The guests gather their wraps and the beautiful gifts they have received, and take their leave. The family retires.
ACT ONE, SCENE THREE
It is almost midnight. Clara sneaks downstairs and tiptoes into the living room in search of her beloved Nutcracker. Finding him safe, she falls asleep on the sofa. No sooner do her eyes close than a mouse appears, as if from nowhere. At the same time, the old grandfather clock begins to strike twelve. Clara awakens and is startled to see the mechanical dolls return, this time in menacing form!
Suddenly Drosselmeier appears and rescues her. Now everything miraculously begins to grow before her eyes. The Christmas tree expands to an enormous height, and sinister, human-size mice emerge. Wonder of wonders, the Nutcracker is transformed into a life-size living soldier! Suddenly the ferocious Mouse King appears, challenging the Nutcracker and a troop of toy soldiers to fight.
A heated battle ensues. The tide wavers back and forth between the forces of the Nutcracker and the Mouse King. Just as it seems the evil Mouse King is about to get the upper hand, Clara boldly strikes the beast with her slipper. The Nutcracker takes advantage of the moment and defeats the Mouse King. Drosselmeier reappears, and with a magnificent flourish transforms the courageous Nutcracker into a handsome Prince.
ACT ONE, SCENE FOUR
The living room has disappeared, and the charming Prince leads Clara to an Enchanted Forest of snow-covered trees. There, the Snow Queen, Snow King and all the Snowflakes dance and swirl around them. As snow begins to fall, a magical Swan arrives to carry Clara and the Prince to the Land of Sweets.
INTERMISSION (20 MINUTES)
ACT TWO, SCENE ONE
In the Land of Sweets, a flock of angels heralds the festivities at the castle of the Sugar Plum Fairy. In celebration of Clara's triumph over the Mouse King, the entire court dances for the young guest. First come the flashing Spanish, then the seductive Arabians, the playful Chinese, the powerful Russians, the elegant Pastorale, the lyrical Butterfly and the waltzing Flowers. The Prince and the Sugar Plum Fairy delight Clara with a beautiful pas de deux.
ACT TWO, SCENE TWO
The Land of Sweets bids Clara farewell. Her fantastic dream begins to fade as she awakens in her living room with the Nutcracker by her side. But.was it really a dream?