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.