The Nutcracker, set to Tchaikovsky’s glorious music, is a heartwarming holiday tradition for every member of the family.
It is Christmas Eve, and guests are arriving at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Silverhaus. They are hosting a Christmas party for their children, Clara and Fritz.
It is a happy time as the guests arrive. The children wait in the hallway while the adults toast the Christmas tree. At last, the children enter the party and joyously receive their presents.
During the festivities Clara’s godfather, Herr Drosselmeyer, arrives at the party. He is a kind, but eccentric old gentleman who makes mechanical dolls. He has a special gift for Clara, a Nutcracker in the shape of a toy soldier. Fritz becomes envious of Clara’s gift, snatches it from her and breaks it. After sending Fritz away, Herr Drosselmeyer mends the Nutcracker for Clara.
As the guests say goodnight and leave the party, Clara and Fritz go off to their beds. The house is still, but the restless Clara cannot sleep. Quietly she tiptoes downstairs into the darkened parlor. Finding the Nutcracker under the Christmas tree, she cradles it in her arms and falls asleep.
Clara has an incredible dream in which magical things happen. Huge mice, led by a Rat King, appear to her. Clara’s precious Nutcracker leads an army of toy soldiers, and a battle takes place. Clara distracts the Rat King by hitting him with her ballet slipper, thus saving the Nutcracker’s life.
Suddenly, the magic spell binding the Nutcracker is broken, and he becomes a handsome Prince. He invites Clara to the Land of Sweets. On their way, they travel through the enchanting Kingdom of Snow where the Snow Queen and Snowflakes welcome them.
When Clara and the Prince reach the Land of Sweets, Angels honor their arrival. Clara meets the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Court. The Prince tells everyone in the palace how Clara so bravely saved his life, and an elaborate celebration begins.
To show their gratitude, all the loyal subjects appear and perform for Clara. Dancers from around the world entertain her. Wondrous dancing candies and toys delight her. Then all the flowers of the kingdom perform the enchanting Waltz of the Flowers.
To conclude the celebration, the Sugar Plum Fairy and Prince give the most beautiful dance of all—the Grand Pas de Deux. The members of the court bid their farewell to Clara. As she leaves, everyone in the beautiful Land of Sweets waves goodbye.