Moscow Ballet

Moscow Ballet

alt altyoutube

Musical Artists

Moscow Ballet partners with Live Orchestras

Moscow Ballet accompanied by Orchestras through Musical Wunderkind Program


From the Capitol region’s Famed Peabody Conservatory returning Conductor Lee Mills at Baltimore’s Hippodrome to Kentucky Heartland’s Maestro John Nardolillo, Moscow Ballet Musical Wunderkind program encompasses accomplished conductors and talented music majors performing in orchestras as well as soloists accompanying the Principal Ballerina in Saint Saens “Dying Swan.”

Accompanying a live ballet performance involves musical skills that are not called for in other performance experiences. Orchestra musicians should easily adapt to the ballet requirements of multi tempi, long fermatas, and surprise tempi changes. Some musical historians consider Tchaiokvsky’s ballet music to be unique from non-balletic works and that his creative partnership with Marius Petipa helped to shape the story ballets that we have today.


Dear Mr. Talmi;

 We are extremely grateful for the opportunity to see the ballet with a live orchestra in Baltimore. The seats were perfect, the theatre beautiful, and it was clear the dancers enjoyed the large stage. Having attended the “Nutcracker” at both Lincoln Center in (NYC) and in Philadelphia we believe the Moscow Ballet Great Russian Nutcracker is better than either.

We also met some of the dancers after the show. We are optimistic that we were able to convey how much we enjoyed the demonstrated talents of the Russian dancers. It was obvious they were happy to see people who truly enjoy ballet.

In addition, we thank you for your efforts in bringing the Moscow Ballet to the USA. Thank you again. We look forward to another year of Moscow Ballet.

Very truly yours,

John, Kathy and Guy Henderson, Baltimore

Concert Artists of Baltimore


Performing Great Russian Nutcracker in Baltimore, MD

Concert Artists of Baltimore  (CAB) philosophy is simple: To make all kinds of music accessible and engaging to everyone by presenting diverse programs of classical music plus special concerts featuring pops, operetta, and lighter favorites. Founded by Edward Polochick and now in its 28th season, Concert Artists of Baltimore (CAB) consists of a professional chamber orchestra and professional chamber chorus. The full ensembles are featured in The Maestro Series, with performances this season at the Basilica of the Assumption, St. Pius Church, and the Gordon Center For Performing Arts.CAB also offers chamber music, The Mansion Series, with performances at The Engineers Club, Garrett-Jacobs Mansion. This series showcases smaller forces, such as a quartet or small vocal group, and often features unique repertoire.

The orchestra and chorus are frequently hired for performances throughout the region by other organizations, including the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Lyric Opera Baltimore, Moscow Ballet, The Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, Temple Oheb Shalom, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, McDaniel College, St. Louis Church, The Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., The Visionary Arts Museum, Elizabethtown College, and Catholic Charities. When larger forces are needed, such as when the singers of Concert Artists perform Messiah with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra each year, the chorus expands to the Concert Artists Symphonic Chorale.

Baltimore Conductor Lee Mills

Conducting Great Russian Nutcracker in Baltimore MD

altConductor Lee Mills, who conducts over 30 Concert Artists of Baltimore musicians in Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, is recognized as a passionate, multifaceted, and energetic conductor. In 2011, at the invitation of Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Music Director Marin Alsop, he received the prestigious BSO-Peabody Institute Conducting Fellowship. Mills was the founding Music Director of the Divertimento Chamber Orchestra in Walla Walla, Washington, and currently is Music Director of Towson University Symphony Orchestra in Maryland. Recent conducting engagements include the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Gran Teatro La Fenice, Bozeman Symphony Orchestra, and Concert Artists of Baltimore. A multifaceted conductor, Mr. Mills has led performances of the Moscow Ballet, Montana Ballet Company, Peabody Opera Theater, Towson University Opera, the Peabody Singers, and Whitman College Chorale and Chamber Singers. In addition Conductor Mills serves as cover conductor for the symphony orchestras of Atlanta, Charlotte, and Baltimore, and assistant and rehearsal conductor at the Gran Teatro La Fenice in Venice, Italy for productions of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Così Fan Tutte. Recently Mills was featured in a master class with David Robertson and the St. Louis Symphony during League of American Orchestras Conference. In 2012, Mills was invited, from a pool of 400 applicants, to participate in the Sir Georg Solti International Conducting Competition in Frankfurt, Germany, where he conducted and worked with the Alte Oper Frankfurt Orchestra.

altUnder the tutelage of Gustav Meier and Marin Alsop, Mills received his Graduate Performance Diploma and Artist’s Diploma in Orchestral Conducting at the Peabody Institute. He was conducting fellow at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen during the summers of 2012 and 2013, where he worked closely with Robert Spano, Hugh Wolff, and Larry Rachleff. While at Aspen, Mills conducted numerous concerts, covered rehearsals and a concert for Leonard Slatkin and the Aspen Festival Orchestra, conducted a public master class for the Aspen Opera Theater Company, led new music recording sessions, and was assistant conductor to George Manahan for the Aspen Opera Theater Company’s production of Candide. Mills graduated cum laude from Whitman College, where he began his conducting studies with Robert Bode. He has participated in the Cabrillo Festival and the Buffalo Philharmonic Conductors Guild Workshops. Additionally, he has studied with Edward Polochick and Matthew Savery.

University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra


Performing Great Russian Nutcracker in Bowling Green, KY, Lexington, KY and Paducah. KY

The University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, conducted by  John Nardolillo, has been an integral part of the cultural life of UK and its communities since the founding of the School of Music in 1918. Selected by audition, the Orchestra is comprised of the finest string, wind, and percussion instrumentalists from both graduate and undergraduate students at the University of Kentucky. The Orchestra presents 10 or more performances each season including symphonic concerts, operas, major works with choirs, and the Concerto Competition concert. It regularly collaborates with distinguished guest artists and the University of Kentucky music faculty. Its repertoire covers a wide range of the master works of orchestral literature from the Baroque to the present.

The University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra was formed in 1918 by Carl Lampert, composer of the UK Fight Song and Alma Mater. Over the last century, the orchestra has built a tradition of performing major symphonic masterworks. The orchestra also performs regularly with the UK Opera Theatre, which presents several fully staged productions each season. This concert season, the orchestra will give more than 20 performances for an audience of more than 40,000 people and for thousands more on television in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio. The orchestra has recorded two CD’s, Music of the Horse (2005) in collaboration with Keeneland and the In Times Like These - music of Arlo Guthrie (2007).

John Nardolillo, Director of Orchestras and UK Symphony Orchestra

Conducting Great Russian Nutcracker in Bowling Green, KY Lexington, KY and Paducah, KY

altJohn Nardolillo, Music Director and Conductor of the University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, has conducted concerts at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, and Carnegie Hall in New York and appeared with more than 30 of the country’s leading orchestras, including the Seattle, San Francisco, Detroit, Atlanta, Dallas, National, Milwaukee, and more. He was Music Director and conductor for the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, a performance that featured 1,500 performers, 200 horses, and was broadcast worldwide for a television audience of 500 million! Mr. Nardolillo is the Founder and Music Director of the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra in Washington DC, an orchestra of top young professional musicians, drawn from the ranks of the world's leading orchestras, who travel from around the United States, Canada and Europe to perform together each season. The orchestra has appeared in the leading concert halls in the eastern United States, has been filmed for a television documentary, and has recorded Copland, Bernstein, Barber, Bach and Mozart.

Mr. Nardolillo made his professional conducting debut in 1994 at the Sully Festival in France, and has since made conducting appearances in the U.S., France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. He has led major American orchestras in subscription series concerts, summer and pops concerts, education concerts and tours, and for television and radio broadcasts. He has recorded for Naxos and Albany Records, and has been featured in articles in the New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe and Vanity Fair magazine. Born in Bend, Oregon, he began musical training at three years old on the violin. He earned a Bachelors degree in violin from the Cleveland Institute of Music, and Masters’ degrees in violin and conducting from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore.


Featured Artists

Moscow Ballet's Featured Artists




Sergey Chumakov and Elena Petrachenko 

“A knockout male dancer in the Arabian divertissement, Sergey Chumakov” says Alastair Macaulay, Chief Dance Critic, NY Times.

Soloists Sergey Chumakov and Elena Petrachenko dance the “Dove of Peace” as one bird with a 20 ft wing span in the 20th Anniversary production of Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker. They are also well known for their Arabian variation in the Great Russian Nutcracker. Acclaimed by the press, “Sergey Chumakov…when partnering Elena Petrachenko…confers an unusual thrill upon the work’s many lifts.” Alastair Macaulay, Chief Dance Critic, NY Times, Chumakov and Petrachenko first danced with Moscow Ballet in 1994 when Moscow Ballet and the Moscow State Academic Children’s Music Theater Named after Natalia Sats, (The world's first professional theater for children and perhaps best known internationally as the birthplace of Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf) toured the Great Russian Nutcracker with a troupe of 100.

The pair is known for their almost acrobatic moves which combine the line and beauty of ballet with the showmanship of the circus. They are graduates of the highly respected State Academic Choreography Institute in Perm, Russia majoring in the Classical Choreography Section.  Already acclaimed by US press, “[Moscow Ballet’s] Arabian pair…were particularly astounding,” Charles Downey, DC, and “The most breathtaking by far is the Arabian sequence… as if Cirque du Soleil performers had crept into the timeless ballet” the couple continue to amaze with the new “2 dancers, 1 Dove of Peace” which is inspired by Stanislav Vlasov’s similar work in the 1950’s (he is from the Bolshoi Ballet and was the original choreographer for Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker in 1993). Cheryl Callon,, Dallas.

Since 2001 they have been principal dancers with the Crown of Russia Ballet performing leading roles in Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Sleeping Beauty, Pachita, Nutcracker, and more. They are principal dancers with the Magdeburg Opera and Ballet Theatre in Germany dancing classical and modern repertoire and with the Russian Theatre in Berlin. Their earliest work was with the Moscow State Ballet Company, Bolshoi Theatre; as principal dancers with the Classic and Modern Choreography Theatre, Moscow; and the Russian Ballet of the 21st Century. They have traveled and worked in countries including USA, Canada, Spain, England, Norway, Germany, Argentina, Ireland, Qatar, Malta, Israel, Mexico, and Jordan. Promotional video "Passion": .


History of The Nutcracker

The Classic Christmas Story Ballet

The origin of the Nutcracker, a classic Christmas Story, is a fairy tale ballet in two acts centered on a family’s Christmas Eve celebration. Alexandre Dumas Père’s adaptation of the story by E.T.A. Hoffmann was set to music by Tchaikovsky and originally choreographed by Marius Petipa. It was commissioned by the director of Moscow’s Imperial Theatres, Ivan Vsevolozhsky, in 1891, and premiered a week before Christmas 1892. Since premiering in western countries in the 1940s, this ballet has become perhaps the most popular to be performed around Christmas time. The story centers on a young girl’s Christmas Eve and her awakening to the wider world and romantic love. The composer made a selection of eight of the more popular pieces before the ballet’s December 1892 premiere, forming what is currently known as the Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a, as is heard in Moscow Ballet productions. The suite became instantly popular; however the complete ballet did not achieve its great popularity as a Christmas performance event until almost 100 years later.


Imperial Ballet's original production of The Nutcracker, circa 1900.


1994 Great Russian Nutcracker with M Alexandrova and V Zabelin


Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker, Kissy Doll


2005 Tatiana Predenia and Felgmatov in Grand Pas de Deux


Stanislav Vlasov on Glasnost Tour


2010 A Elagina and A Ustimov in Snowflake Waltz

Performance History and the St. Petersburg Premiere
The first performance of the Christmas ballet was held as a double premiere together with Tchaikovsky’s last opera, Iolanta, around the Christmas holiday season on December 18 [O.S. December 6] 1892, at the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia. It is generally agreed that Lev Ivanov, Second Balletmaster to the St. Petersburg Imperial Theatres, worked closely with Marius Petipa, Premier Maître de Ballet of the St. Petersburg Imperial Theatres and widely regarded as the Father of Russian Ballet, to create the holiday ballet. It was conducted by Riccardo Drigo, with Antoinetta Dell-Era as the Sugar Plum Fairy, Pavel Gerdt as her Prince, Stanislava Belinskaya as Clara/Masha, Sergei Legat as the Nutcracker Prince, and Timofei Stukolkin as Uncle Drosselmeyer. More about Tchaikovsky’s classic ‘Nutcracker’ score

In Europe and the U.S.
The Christmas ballet was first performed outside Russia in England in 1934. Its first United States performance was in 1944 by the San Francisco Ballet, staged by its artistic director and Balanchine student Willam Christensen. The New York City Ballet first performed George Balanchine’s Nutcracker in 1954 but the holiday ballet did not begin to achieve its great popularity until after the George Balanchine staging became a hit in New York City. The now well known Christmas story has been published in many book versions including colorful children-friendly ones. The plot revolves around a German girl named Clara Stahlbaum and her coming-of-age one Christmas holiday. In Hoffmann’s tale, the girl’s name is Marie or Maria, while Clara – or “Klärchen” – is the name of one of her dolls. In the Great Russian Nutcracker, she is affectionately called Masha.

Composition History
Tchaikovsky accepted the commission from director of Moscow’s Imperial Theatres, Ivan Vsevolozhsky, writing to a friend while composing the ballet, “I am daily becoming more and more attuned to my task.” While composing the music for the charming Christmas story, Tchaikovsky is said to have argued with a friend who wagered that the composer could not write a melody based on the notes of the octave in sequence. Tchaikovsky asked if it mattered whether the notes were in ascending or descending order, and was assured it did not. This resulted in the Grand Adage from the Grand Pas de Deux of the second act where Clara/Masha dances with her magical Christmas present, the Nutcracker Prince. Among other things, the score of The Nutcracker is noted for its use of the celesta, an instrument that the composer had already employed in his much lesser known symphonic ballad, The Voyevoda (premiere 1891). Although well-known in The Nutcracker as the featured solo instrument in the “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” from Act II, it is also employed elsewhere in the same act.

Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker 

Moscow Ballet’s version of the Nutcracker ballet, known as the “Great Russian Nutcracker,” includes other unique elements in the telling of the traditional holiday tale.  In the Moscow Ballet version, the setting is in Moscow and the city’s famous onion-domed skyline is featured as a backdrop. Traditional Russian folk characters Ded Moroz (Father Christmas) and Snegurochka (Snow Maiden) escort Masha and the Nutcracker Prince to their dream world in Act II. 

Finally the “Dove of Peace,” exclusive to Moscow Ballet’s version, welcomes the couple to the “Land of Peace and Harmony” traditionally called “The Land of Sweets.” The “Dove of Peace” was inspired by performances of Stanislov Vlasov, former Bolshoi Ballet dancer and choreographer/ballet master of Moscow Ballet’s inaugural 1993 Great Russian Nutcracker , and partner Lilia Sabitova, People’s Artist of Russia.

 “[Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker]…lively and resourceful with an unusual array of bright, painted backdrops adding to the Christmas cheer…disarmingly poetic…faultless mastery of the steps…bravura expertise.”  – Los Angeles Times 2013 Lewis Segal
















Romeo And Juliet

Great Russian Nutcracker  |   Romeo And Juliet   |   Swan Lake  |  Sleeping Beauty  |  Cinderella


Featuring spectacular sets and beautifully costumed Russian dancers, 
Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker is an annual treat for the whole 
family. Whimsical and imaginative storytelling blends with the richness of 
Russian classical dance to make the Great Russian Nutcracker a unique 
performance not to be missed!

Moscow Ballet has been praised by critics for the unique setting in Act II 
of the "Land of Peace and Harmony." To convey a message of peace, an 
ethereal dove escorts Masha and the Prince to a land where there is no 
war or suffering. Set to Tchaikovsky’s famous score, Moscow Ballet’s 
production features 200 lavish costumes, larger-than-life Russian puppets
and 9 hand-painted backdrops that are embellished with 3-D effects.

Moscow Ballet continues its commitment to "Celebrating Children…The Arts 
Can Make a Difference.” Local children in each market will audition to appear 
with the 132 Russian dancers on the tours. Last year, more than 6,000 U.S. 
children performed the Great Russian Nutcracker with Moscow Ballet’s 
dancers, as part of its educational outreach campaign.

Set against Valentin Fedorov's spectacular scenic design, with larger-than-life 
puppets and the backdrop of unicorns, exotic birds and animals, the Great 
Russian Nutcracker is a visual delight.




Great Russian Nutcracker


A Christmas Tradition in North America since 1993!

In 1993, Moscow Ballet toured the Great Russian Nutcracker to Washington DC, Baltimore, Syracuse, Orlando, Ft Lauderdale, New Haven, Reading and Charleston WV for the first time to critical acclaim. Directed and choreographed by Stanislav Vlasov, former soloist with the Bolshoi Ballet, and well known as a “Grand Dance Artist,” the inaugural six-week tour starred principal ballerina Lillia Sabitova. It also featured the innovative rolling backgrounds first created by a St Petersburg Conservatory of Music producer, and which were the inspiration for Eisenstein’s cinematic technique. Since then the annual tour has increased to include about 100 performances on the tour to cities from San Juan to Calgary, and from New York to California, traveling with two simultaneously touring companies of forty dancers each.

Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker Act I - A Christmas Party

Tchaikovsky’s classic score for this Christmas story opens with a “Miniature Overture” during which magical Uncle Drosselmeyer prepares his life-sized Christmas gifts for niece Masha and nephew Fritz at Mayor Stahlbaum’s family home later that evening. The music sets the fanciful holiday mood by using upper registers of the orchestra exclusively as the curtain soon opens to reveal the iconic Moscow city skyline and guests arriving for the Christmas Eve Party. Masha, little brother Fritz, and mother and father Stahlbaum celebrate the holiday with friends and family, when beloved godfather Uncle Drosselmeyer, arrives with his magical gifts.

Uncle Drosselmeyer presides over a puppet show which foreshadows the events of the Nutcracker ballet and then produces a large bag of Christmas gifts for all the children. All are very happy, except Masha, who has yet to be presented a gift. Uncle Drosselmeyer uses a super-sized Matrushka Doll to unveil his life-sized Kissy, Harlequin and Moorish Dolls as presents for all to enjoy in wonderment.  The festivities continue with the adults dancing the stately Russian Court dances, which the youngsters mimic. When the dances are finished, Masha approaches Uncle Drosselmeyer asking for her Christmas gift and he gives her a beautiful toy Nutcracker, in the traditional shape of a soldier. Masha is overjoyed, but her brother Fritz is jealous, and breaks the Nutcracker. The party soon ends, guests make their way sleepily home and Masha falls asleep.

While the family is sleeping, Uncle Drosselmeyer repairs the Nutcracker Doll. As the clock strikes midnight, Masha hears the sound of mice scurrying in her bedroom. She wakes up and tries to run away, but the mice stop her. Perhaps Masha is still in a dream?  The Christmas tree suddenly begins to grow to enormous size, filling the room and the Nutcracker Doll comes to life. He rises to defend Masha against the Mouse King who leads his mice into battle. Here Tchaikovsky continues the miniature effect of the Overture, setting the battle music again predominantly in the orchestra’s upper registers.

A conflict ensues, and when Masha helps the Nutcracker Doll by throwing her shoe at the Mouse King, the Nutcracker seizes his opportunity and defeats him. The mice retreat, taking their wounded leader with them. The Nutcracker is then transformed into a handsome Nutcracker Prince! Masha and her Nutcracker Prince travel to the Snow Forrest where traditional Russian folk figures, Ded Moroz (Father Christmas) and Snegurochka (Snow Maiden) welcome Masha and her Nutcracker Prince and escort them to the Land of Peace and Harmony. The score conveys the wondrous effect of the journey by introducing a wordless children’s chorus.
Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker Act II - "Land of Peace and Harmony"

In Konstantin Ivanov’s original sketch for the set of The Nutcracker, Act II (1892) Masha and her Nutcracker Prince arrive in the “Land of the Sugar Plum Fairy” with all its Christmas candy and treats, but in Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker they arrive in the “Land of Peace and Harmony” where all creatures, animal and human, live in accord with each other. The act opens with a riveting performance of Moscow Ballet’s exclusive “Dove of Peace” in which 2 dancers balance and leverage with each other to form a soaring white bird with a 20 foot wingspan.

The “Dove of Peace” was inspired by performances of Stanislov Vlasov, former Bolshoi Ballet dancer and choreographer/ballet master of Moscow Ballet’s inaugural 1993 Great Russian Nutcracker , and partner Lilia Sabitova, People’s Artist of Russia. (See the video to the right and note the soaring bird images) The “Dove of Peace,” exclusive to the Great Russian Nutcracker , leads Masha and Nutcracker Prince into the Land of Peace and Harmony (traditionally known as the Land of Sweets). It was created by acclaimed dancers Sergey Chumakov and Elena Petrachenko in celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the Great Russian Nutcracker.  “Knockout male dancer…Sergey Chumakov…when partnering Elena Petrachenko…confers an unusual thrill upon the work’s many lifts” writes Alastair Macaulay, Chief Dance Critic, NY Times.

Unique to Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker, are many different backdrops. The peaceful ambiance of Act II is established by award-winning Russian designer Valentin Federov’s drops created with three-dimensional effects. One features a rainbow which symbolizes the road from Masha’s bedroom to the Land of Peace and Harmony. The next is an homage to Henri Rousseau’s famous jungle paintings – it is child-like in its style, warm and colorful and is where the Dove of Peace appears.

In the Land of Peace and Harmony emissaries (who bear a distinct resemblance to Masha’s dolls!) appear from around the world to welcome and honor Masha and her Prince on this peaceful Christmas night. Spanish, Chinese, Arabian, Russian, and French couples demonstrate the great dances and spirit of their country’s heritages. The dancers are accompanied by 10 foot tall , playful puppets which are also symbolic of that country’s unique attributes. The Spaniard’s Bull represents the gift of daring, the Arabian Elephants bring the gift of wisdom, the Chinese Dragon brings the gift of playfulness, the Balalaika playing Russian Bear bestows strength on Masha and the French Unicorn imparts imagination.

The final scene of the holiday Christmas celebration concludes with a lush Waltz of the Flowers featuring a full company of 8 men and 8 women. Finally Masha and the Nutcracker Prince express their gratitude for the lovely evening and party by dancing a Grand Pas de Deux of their own….The night is over, Masha awakens to find herself back in her own bedroom with the beloved Nutcracker Doll by her side.



Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker















Connect With Moscow Ballet




Advertised discounts do not necessarily apply to every Moscow Ballet performance depending on contractual agreements.


© 2014 Moscow Ballet