Tchaikovsky is considered to be Russia's great symphonic composer. In his music he achieved a synthesis of the national musical language of Russia and the compositional forms of the western European Romantics. His most famous ballets enjoy a position of honor in the Classical Ballet repertoire on account of their melodic intensity and instrumental brilliance. In the fairy tale "The Nutcracker and the King of the Mice" written by the German Romantic E. T. A. Hoffmann and published in 1814, on which Tchaikovsky's ballet is based, Christmas provides the realistic setting for a fantastic plot. Fiction and reality are woven together by means of strange and wondrous occurrences to produce a fascinating and unfathomable labyrinth. Both Hoffmann and Tchaikovsky, who began to compose the ballet in his fiftieth year, could identify with the literary figure of the watchmaker Drosselmeyer, who gives order to his life through his work. In 1999, exactly 107 years - to the day - after the first performance in St. Petersburg, Patrice Bart's choreography of Tchaikovsky's worldwide success the Nutcracker was premiered at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin. Bart placed a prologue before the ballet in which Marie is abducted as a child and in which everything is placed in a modern context. Soloists: Oliver Matz, Nadja Saidakova, Vladimir Malakhov. Orchestra, Chorus: Staatskapelle Berlin, Staatsballett Berlin. Conductor: Daniel Barenboim. Choreographer: Patrice Bart. 118 minutes.