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All best wishes for the holidays!

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in keeping with the sentiments of this thread, two perhaps familiar, but not, it seems, over-familiar illustrations documenting the first production of NUTCRACKER in 1892 Petersburg. (both from The Life and Ballets of Lev Ivanov by Roland John Wiley.)

the one of Mikhail Bocharov's sketch for the fir forest/snow scene; the other of the two leading children in their roles of Clara and Prince Nutcracker in act 2, Stanislava Belinskaya and Sergey Legat, respectively.



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Oh, thanks for that pic, rg.! I had never seen it before. Now more than ever I'm almost sure that Belinskaya's role was a dancing one. I see Legat here in a different costume as the one he wears in the pic with Preobrajenskaya as Coqueluche for Act II. I wonder how they designed his transition from Act I into Act II, libretto wise. Belinskaya also wears a different attire from the sleeping camisole she wears in the said other pic. This is Act II here, right..? And if so...Legat then changed into his other costume to dance with Fee Dragee the Grand Pas..? So the Nutcracker Prince AND Coqueluche were merged into one dancer since Imperial times..? How confusing...happy.png

Well, maybe Vainonen's scheme is not then that far from the original conception...? Giving that his is the closest in time to the original...

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it's the Legat name(s) that can be confusing, i suppose.

this photo from Wiley of the Clara and the Prince Nutcracker, as opposed to Prince Coqueluche, shows Sergei Legat, Nikolai's younger brother, as the child character, not Nikolai.

Nikolai L. is documented as the Sugar Plum Fairy's partner in some historic photos with Preobrajenska, who assumed the role of Sugar Plum in 1900. (in 1892, Preobrajenska was the the Columbine doll in act 1 - i don't know if Nikolai L. played any part in the '92 cast.)

i think the act 2 photo of Belinskaya and S. Legat from Wiley (scanned above) shows the two main children from Act I, i.e. Clara and Nutcracker-turned-prince, as a 'wedding' couple of act 2 being feted by the divertissements of the "Land of Sweets", very much acc'd to Balanchine's outline/scheme for act 2.

my hunch is that neither of these children's roles nor that of Fritz (originally performed by Vasily Stukolkin) was a dancing role, but only involved pantomime, again as in Balanchine's version.

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