(see general bio at Swan
Petipa is here presented in an
unexpected light; a writer of a musical script. This role is
different from a librettist's task in that the scenarist
communicates to the other artistic creators exclusively, in this
case to Tchaikovsky and Ivanov. The librettist communicates ultimately
audience. Petipa was accustomed to working with the "dansant"
composers who could often assemble a ballet-to-order practically
on the spot.
He had intended to take the choreography
of The Nutcracker for himself, but illness prevented him
from doing so. He deferred to his assistant, Lev
Ivanov, providing him with "advice and directions"
in the staging of the work. He had devised the whole scheme of
the ballet beforehand and wrote to
Tchaikovsky of the exact nature and duration of the music he
should write, as:
Act I: #5 The President orders
a march played.
64 measures of march, each child
receives gifts, All this happens during the march.
#6 Galop for the children - 48
#6 revised Entry of the guests
dressed in costume. 16 measures for the entry. Then a rococo
dance - minuet time - Bye-bye Mister Dumolet.(?!)
For Tchaikovsky's reaction to this
kind of musical merchant tailoring, see his article under this
heading, and the general
biographical sketch under Swan Lake.