Content description from Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_productions_of_The_Nutcracker#Mikhail_Baryshnikov_(1976)) :
In 1976, the 28-year-old Mikhail Baryshnikov premiered a new version of the ballet for the American Ballet Theatre, with himself in the title role, Marianna Tcherkassky as Clara, and Alexander Minz as Drosselmeyer. The production premiered at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. in December 1976, and received its New York premiere on May 18, 1977 at the Metropolitan Opera House.
Like Nureyev, Baryshnikov adopted many of the changes made by Gorsky and Vainonen, including the casting of adult dancers in the roles of Clara and the Nutcracker Prince, the elimination of the Sugar Plum Fairy while making Drosselmeyer's role more prominent, and a concluding scene in which Clara realizes the fantasy sequences were a dream. This production also utilizes Vainonen's choreography for the Waltz of the Snowflakes. Other changes included having a drunken guest at the Christmas party be the one responsible for breaking the Nutcracker, not Clara's brother Fritz, who is portrayed fairly sympathetically in this version. Clara, meanwhile, does not throw her slipper at the Mouse King during the battle, but a candleholder instead. The Grand Adagio of the Pas de Deux in Act II was made almost into a Pas de Trois, as Drosselmeyer enters the festivities at the Land of Sweets to coax Clara back to reality but she refuses to go. In order to provide a dramatic climax to the story, the adagio was made the penultimate dance in the ballet, coming just before the Final Waltz and Apotheosis.
This production achieved particular popularity when it was recorded for television in 1977, starring Gelsey Kirkland as Clara (one of her few roles captured on video), with Baryshnikov and Minz reprising their roles as the Nutcracker / Prince and Drosselmeyer respectively. The telecast was directed by multi-Emmy-winning choreographer and director Tony Charmoli. Although not televised now as often as it used to be, and despite the fact that it was not shot in high definition or widescreen, it retains its status as the most popular telecast of the ballet even today, having become a huge bestseller on DVD especially during the Christmas season. The television version was not a live performance from the Kennedy Center of the ballet, but a special presentation shot on videotape in a TV studio. NBC had already done this as early as 1955, with its Producers' Showcase version of Tchaikovsky's The Sleeping Beauty, starring Margot Fonteyn (which was, however, presented live in those days of no videotape). This method of presentation permitted far greater freedom of camera movement and more use of different camera angles. The Baryshnikov Nutcracker was videotaped in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Due to time constraints and the necessity to bring the program in at ninety minutes (counting three commercial breaks), the television version of the Baryshnikov production had to eliminate the Arabian Dance altogether. It was first telecast by CBS in the U.S. as a Christmas season special with limited commercial interruption on December 16, 1977, pre-empting Wonder Woman and Logan's Run for that week. It was re-broadcast by CBS several times, then afterwards many times annually by PBS, usually during their Christmas season pledge drives. In 1997, a slightly edited version of it was telecast on the A&E Network, as part of their Breakfast with the Arts program. The presentation was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Classical Program in the Performing Arts, and Baryshnikov himself was nominated for an Emmy for Special Classification of Outstanding Individual Achievement. On September 28, 2004, the production was reissued on DVD, remastered and in both 2.0 and 5.1 stereo surround sound. In September 2012, it became one of the few 1970's programs originally recorded on videotape to be released on Blu-ray.
Ephemera: Available through the CCDR Collections at Arizona Stat University. Six clippings from various publications about program.
Limitations: This page displays video content associated with a videotape in the CCDR Collections audiovisual library recorded by Joann W. Kealiinohomoku. Please be advised that, because this videotape has not yet been digitized for direct access, we cannot guarantee that the video content on this page is an exact match with the content originally recorded by Dr. Kealiinohomoku. We also cannot guarantee function or access for re-hosted video content.