The Nutcracker & I by Alexandra Dariescu

For families of all ages


Romanian pianist Alexandra Dariescu’s reimagining of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker merges piano, ballet and state-of-the-art digital animations in a multimedia treat for all ages.

Behind a see-through screen, Dariescu plays virtuosic score movements as ballerina Désirée Ballantyne dances in-sync with digitally projected characters, created using more than 35,000 hand-drawn images.

Beneath fairy dust and swirling snow, this is a faithful retelling of Clara’s magical journey from Christmas Eve to the Kingdom of the Sweets and the Sugar Plum Fairy. It also follows Dariescu’s own story, from the little girl to the concert pianist, telling us to keep on believing and never give up.

Featuring arrangements of Nutcracker favourites by Percy Grainger, Mikhail Pletnev and Stepan Esipoff, with three new adaptations by Gavin Sutherland, artistic director of the English National Ballet, this magical retelling inspires new and established fans of Tchaikovsky’s classic work.

Music Play is supported by the Betty Amsden Kids & Families program.

Presented by Melbourne Recital Centre


Performer and Producer: Alexandra Dariescu
Director: Nick Hillel
Art Director and Director of Animation: Adam Smith
Choreography (Live and Animation): Jenna Lee
Ballerina: Désirée Ballantyne
Technical Producer: Sander Loonen
Video Design: Yeast Culture
Images: Nigel Norrington