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Chemiakin: The Magic Nut

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The Magic Nut. A prologue to The Nutcracker.

by Mihail Chemiakin

Skira Editore, Milan, 2005

Distributed by Thames and Hudson and available on Amazon

151 pages

"The idea of staging the whole Hoffman tale, including the story of Pirlipat and the magic nut, first arose about thirty years after the first production of
The Nutcracker
, when choreographer Fyodor Lopukhov commissioned Shostakovich to write the music. Unfortunately it was right after the composer was savaged by the press for his music for the ballets
The Limpid Stream
, and Shostakovich backed away from ballet scores."

from introduction by Mihail Chemiakin, page 2

This is a beautifully produced book of the sketches created by Mihail Chemiakin for the production of The Magic Nut. (The ballet premiered at the Mariinsky Theatre on 14 May 2005.) Mikahil Chemiakin, Sergei Slominsky (composer) and Donvena Pandoursky (choreographer) each have written a page of text as an introduction. A short synopsis of the ballet introduces each set of sketches. I only wish there were texts in english to explain each sketch but perhaps they felt that would take away from the overall design of the book.

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