Advent Calendar 2015 · Theatre

December 15th: The Nutcracker scenery by Konstantin Ivanov

nutcracker_design
Konstantin Ivanov’s original sketch for the set of The Nutcracker (1892). [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ANutcracker_design.jpg
Above and below are scenic sketches for the first-ever production of the now-classic ballet The Nutcracker, which was originally staged in 1892 at the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia. The sketches are by a Konstantin Ivanov, but I unfortunately can’t find any information about him. Every website giving information about the history of The Nutcracker mentions him, but none actually want to tell me who he was. (The fact that a big Russian ballet director has the same name certainly doesn’t help!) Fortunately, these colorful and highly-imaginative sketches still have tons of impact despite the mystery that is their author. Notice how certain elements, such as the central pavilion and the Russian-style buildings in the background, remain consistent in both sketches despite their altered surroundings.

The Nutcracker was composed by Pyotr Ilyck Tchaikovsky (1840-1895) and based on a story by E.T.A. Hoffman (1776-1822) ; the 1892 production was choreographed by Russian ballet greats Marius Petipa (1818-1910) and Lev Ivanov (1834-1901). I find myself wondering if designer Ivanov and choreographer Ivanov were related.

nutcracker_set_designs
Konstantin Ivanov’s original sketch for the set of The Nutcracker (1892). [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ANutcracker_set_designs.jpg.

 

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3 thoughts on “December 15th: The Nutcracker scenery by Konstantin Ivanov

  1. After some creative googling – Konstantin Matveevich Ivanov (1859-1916). He also designed sets for Glazunov’s Raymonda (1899). And there, the trail goes cold. No article in Russian Wiki.

    Choreographer Lev Ivanovich Ivanov had a different patronymic, so was certainly no closer than a cousin; and the surname is a common one.

    K.M. could have been father of the conductor Konstantin Konstantinovich Ivanov (1907-1984) – but I have zero evidence for that.

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