Friday, December 21, 2012

The Nutcracker in Sweden


I am on the other side of the Atlantic now, but wanted to share this Swedish holiday tradition. Like many, I grew up with the tradition of attending Nutcracker performances and was eager to see the Nutcracker in Sweden. It's a sell-out every year at the Royal Opera and if you have the chance to be in Stockholm for the holidays, go see the Swedish Royal Opera's ballet performance of it. However, in the US, we're familiar with the traditional Balanchine version. This Swedish version combines the traditional Nutcracker story with the Elsa Beskow Swedish classic children's book: Petter and Lotta's Christmas (Petters och Lottas Jul). Spoiler alert: a straw Christmas goat replaces the nutcracker, in this version! Elsa Beskow's children's picture books are National treasures and this book is translated into English. If you are a Swede enthusiast, it's a good one to add to your collection.
1) Petter and Lotta's Jul/ Petter and Lotta's Christmas by Elsa Beskow
2) The Nutcracker at the Stockholm, Royal Opera

Elsa Beskow
Kid Tested Stockholm
Decorating with Moss


  1. We love the Nutcracker ballet! The nutcracker in your picture is particularly handsome! Here's wishing you a joyful, blessed Christmas season :)

    1. It's so nice to hear from you. I hope you are feeling great and enjoying this holiday. Thank you for noticing our Nutcracker. I have a small collectionand he's one of my favorites. Wishing you the best.

  2. I just saw the Swedish version of The Nuutcracker for the frst time after years of seeing Balanchine's version at the New York City Ballet. It was interesting to note the differences. Aside from the Christmas goat instead of the nutcracker, I noticed that in Act 2, some solo performances in Balanchine's interpretation were danced by pairs or groups of dancers. I did, however, miss my favorite, the Arabian Coffee Dance. But the music is exquisite--the Royal Swedish Opera Orchestra did an outstanding job--and one is really transported. Since my children are half-Swedish, I really wanted them to experience the Swedish Nutcracker and understand it in the context of Swedish literary classics and Christmas traditions. Any version of The Nutcracker puts one in the holiday spirit! Wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful Christmas and New Year!

    1. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Happy Days! Thank you for this. I am so sorry that I'm missing the beat over the holidays and wanted to take a moment to tell you how I appreciated your comment. These observations are all very relevant and I think there are a few days left to catch the Nutcracker in Stockholm, for any visitors. Thank you for sharing. PLUS: Yes the Arabian song is my favorite, as well! It's so interesting that the Swedish version is big on "cute" as in dancing candy canes and ginger bread men and less on world ambiance. I miss that song, too.


Thank you!