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Costume Sketches from 1892 NUTCRACKER


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fyi: here is the first of two scans of reproductions of some of the costume designs from the 1892 Nutcracker. Both show Vsevolozhsky's costume sketches

1] a reproduction of the costume for a member of the snowflake ensemble for the second scene of Act 1.

2] a group of sketches all done on the same piece of paper, Wiley notes the following dancers who originated the roles depicted on the page: top row of smaller scale drawings, left-to-right - a soldier, originally S. Litavkin; Columbine, O. Preobrajenska; Harlequin, G. Kyaksht; (second row, smaller scale) a sutler (or vivandiere), A.Anderson; the toy Nutcracker; and finally, more large-scale on the right, Herr Droselmayer, T. Stukolkin.


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regarding whose hand is in involved in the scanned sketch pix, the one of the solo 'snowflake' would seem to be a later reworking for purposes of the creating the card on which the image is shown of ivan vsevoloszhsky's original sketch - which, according to the reproduction in dobrovolskaya's SCHYELKUNCHIK, is part of a fuller page that includes 'Le Roi des Souris et des soldats [souris]'.

vsevolozhsky's hand is rather well know from the sketches reproduced in the russian language SPYASHAYA KARSAVITSA by konstantinova, and part of a 'art' studies series that also includes LEBEDINOE OZERO by davidov.

(vsevolozhsky's 'snowflake' is more delicately rendered than the 'reworked' one shown here but it's posed in exactly the same way.

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great question, Amy....

It reminds me, in SFB's old production, Jose Varona did the mice up in a way that suggested napoleon's attack on Moscow, and there were a fair number of female "camp followers' among the mice, who grieved mightily when hte Mouse king was killed.... They might have been Vivandieres.... in fact, I think one of them had a bota bag and gave a drink to a mouse who was making a pit stop.....

I don't KNOW if there's an old tradition of having serving wenches, but this WAS from Willam Christensen's section of the production, which dated back to 1939, and Christensen based his setting on a conversatoin he had with Danilova and Balanchine in a SF hotel, about what the Nutcracker they'd danced in in St Petersburg had been like. Danilova took off her shoes and was about to show some of the steps when Balanchine intervened and said "no let him make up his own steps" -- but the tale that Christensen told about that evening made it sound like they went in to lots of detail in describing the the old Petersburg version they'd grown up in. So maybe there were vivandieres at the edges of the old battle scene; they were certainly still there two years ago.... might be still in Tomasson's new version: I haven't noticed them, but hte new scenery takes up so much more of the stage, the picture is quite crowded and there could be some.

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the royal ballet's peter wright prod. follows the intended scheme for 'magical' toys, and includes in order? the columbine and harlequin 'dancing dolls', who pop out from a cabbage and meat pie (respectively?) and then the sutler and soldier (each of whom come out from matching tobacco cases, as i believe the libretto specified) - i don't have my wiley to hand at the moment. so this vsevolozhsky page concentrates on the characters from drosselmeier's initial appearance in act 1, sc. 1.

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Here's Mel's definition:

"A vivandiere is a lady who runs the army canteen. She is VERY respectable, and nobody lays a hand on her, except with honorable intentions."

My memory of vivandieres in French art/ literature/film/etc. is that they are often portrayed as beefy, earthy, no-nonsense women, equally devoted to making money and bullying (in a good natured way) their "boys". In other words, a character role rather than a ballerina or soubrette role.

A bit off topic -- Here's a description of the original La Vivandiere as currently performed by the Trocks:

La Vivandiere

Music by: Cesare Pugni

Choreography by:

Arthur Saint Leon

Costumes by: Mike Gonzales

Decor by: Kip Marsh

Lighting by: Tricia Toliver

This excerpt from La Vivandiere, a ballet in one act with a libretto and choreography by Arthur Saint Leon, was first presented in May, 1844, at Her Majesty’s Theater in London, and starred the celebrated Italian ballerina, Fanny Cerrito.

The ballet is set in a little village in Hungary, where Kathi, a camp follower, loves Hans, the son of a tavern keeper. This ballet became famous as it introduced the "Redowa,” the original Polka of Bohemia, to 19th century London.

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Hi RG.

Do you have any more of Vsevolozhsky's images from the Nutcracker. I plan on embroidering a Nutcracker stocking for myself & these illustrations are perfect. I have searched far & wide but I haven't been able to locate more of the orignal sketches.

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john warrack's Tchaikovsky has a color sketch of hoop dancer; Dobrovolskaya's monograph in russian on NUTCRACKER (SHCHELKUNCHIK) has a few others in color, most of the illustrations in her book from the 1892 production are in black and white.

here though are a few more color items:

1. the hoop (trepak) dancer from Warrack

2. & 3. from Dobrovolskaya = couple from Waltz of the Flowers & Merlitons dancer.




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All of these are marvellous -- and really should be gathered into a children's book retelling of the story (for adults).

I'm glad the Mirliton hat has been squashed down in recent productions; it must have been difficult moving quickly with the Leaning Tower of Pisa on one's head.

I like the Hoop Dance -- wierd and scarey. How did this mysterious character turn into a Candy Cane in Balanchine's version?

Also, from the original post: how did Columbine do her choreography with that strange thigh-hobbling skirt?

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there is a grainy, b&w illus. in dobrovolskaya of shiryaev w/ his hoop and yes, gone are the donkey's(?) ears.

also one of preobrajenska as columbine, and, once built, her skirt was made much shorter than the sketch indicated thus freeing up her legs (and legwork) - tho' it's important to recall that she was a columbine doll/automaton, so one presumes her movements were somewhat constrained to that end.

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thanks so much for your reply & added photos.

do you have any suggestions where i could find dobrovolskaya's book (i'm in the los angeles area)? i have searched google, ebay and abebooks without any luck. i am assuming the author's full name is g n dobrovolskaya. is this correct?

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Galina Dobrovolskaya's monograph (published under the imprint 'Mol' St. Petersburg, 1996), is part of a series? that inlcudes A. Demidov's SWAN LAKE and M. Konstantinova's SLEEPING BEAUTY (published under the imprint of 'Iskusstov' Moscow).

i suppose there might book dealers who specialize in russian titles on line, but i don't have any individual web addresses.

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Thanks RG for all your help. It's definitely not an easy book to track down. Fingers are crossed over here.

You could try emailing Szwede Slavic Books. They might be able to track down the book for you. I have found them very helpful when they were at their previous location in Palo Alto.

Also there are these contact details from 2002 for a Galina Dobrovolskaya on the Web

Rossiyski Institut Istorii Iskusstv (Russian Institute for History of Arts)

St Pb. 19000, Isaakievskaya pl. 5 - Tel. 314.41.36

Researcher: Galina Dobrovolskaya

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