St. Petersburg & Klin, Russia
The Nutcracker, a ballet by Peter Ilych Tchaikovsky based on a story by E.T.A. Hoffmann, is one of the greatest traditions of the Christmas season. The endearing dances are among the most famous, and popular, pieces of music ever composed. Performed by ballet companies around the world, played by radio stations everywhere, it is the most lucrative classical work ever produced; and it has been indelibly tied to the holidays forever.
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky was one of the musical giants of the 19th century and generally accounted as one of the greatest composers of all time. His opus includes dozens of familiar and beautiful scores, including several that are popular during the holiday season. Tchaikovsky’s composed The Nutcracker at his home in Klin outside of Moscow. This house was later converted into a museum to showcase the composer’s life and works. After his death in 1893, Tchaikovsky was interred in the Tikhvin Cemetery along with other great Russian composers such as Borodin, Glinka, Mussorgsy and Rimsky-Korsakov.
The Nutcracker was based on an original story written by E.T.A. Hoffmann in 1816. Tchaikovsky’s ballet, composed in 1892 at the height of the Victorian period, offers a very romantic image of Christmas. It tells the story of a young girl who receives a Nutcracker doll as a Christmas gift, how it comes to life and their subsequent adventures together in the realm of the Sugar Plum Fairy. The full original copy of the score was donated to the Saint Petersburg Conservatory in 1892, then went missing for some time, then resurfaced in 1946. It is currently on display at the Tchaikovsky House-Museum in Klin.
Tchaikovsky’s Tomb is located in the Tikhvin Cemetery at the Alexander Nevsky Monastery in St. Petersburg. Visitor information was not available as of this writing. The Tchaikovsky House-Museum is located on the outskirts of the town of Klin, about forty miles northwest of Moscow. It is open daily (except Wednesdays, Thursdays and some Mondays) from 10:00am-6:00pm. As of this writing the cost of admission was not available. Web: www.lavra.spb.ru (official website of the Alexander Nevsky Monastery); www.museum.ru/mscreg/e5_hist.htm (official website of the Tchaikovsky House-Museum)