A Christmas Carol World première
ballet in two acts after the novella by Charles Dickens
A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost-Story of Christmas
music by Pyotr Tchaikovsky
The first full-length ballet by Ivan Vasilyev is based on the story by Charles Dickens. On Christmas Eve Mr. Scrooge is visited by the three ghosts of Christmas. They show the lonely, miserly old man his past, present, and future. Scrooge realizes that by letting money come before love and the warmth of human relationships, he has made his life meaningless. But during the magic of Christmas everything is possible, and the miser gets a chance to correct his mistakes. The musical basis of the ballet comes from Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Children’s Album and The Seasons as well as fragments of his symphonies.
Christmas morning. People enjoy the holiday and hurry to pay tribute to Christmas. This is the only holiday when, as if by tacit agreement, everybody opens their hearts. Only Scrooge is indifferent to Christmas. He carries his own low temperature always about with him; he ices his office in the dogdays and doesn’t thaw it one degree at Christmas. These are the days of mercy, kindness and forgiveness, but such feelings are unknown to Scrooge. As is compassion to his clerk, Bob Cratchit, who is freezing in Scrooge’s office.Even his nephew’s visit, his Christmas present and an invitation to a dinner party cannot touch the hardened heart of Scrooge, after all what’s Christmas time but a time for paying bills, a time for finding yourself a year older... It’s all humbug!
Scrooge goes home and shows off his maid, Mrs Dilber, even without paying her. Finally, he is alone in peace and quiet, but suddenly he hears the clanking noise, as if some person were dragging a heavy chain over the casks in the wine merchant’s cellar. Scrooge then remembers to have heard that ghosts in haunted houses were described as dragging chains.
Scrooge does not believe in ghosts, but changes in the face when he sees his deceased partner, Jacob Marley, who died seven years ago.
The third phantom — the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come — leads Scrooge through a sequence of mysterious scenes relating to an unnamed man’s recent death. Scrooge sees some vagabonds trading the dead man’s personal effects for cash, and a poor couple expressing relief at the death of their unforgiving creditor. Scrooge, anxious to learn the lesson of his latest visitor, begs to know the name of the dead man. Scrooge looks at the headstone and is shocked to read his own name. He desperately implores the spirit to alter his fate, promising to renounce his insensitive, avaricious ways and to honor Christmas with all his heart. Whoosh! He suddenly finds himself safely tucked in his bed. Overwhelmed with joy by the chance to redeem himself and grateful that he has been returned to Christmas Day, Scrooge rushes out onto the street hoping to share his newfound Christmas spirit.
He becomes as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people laugh to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he is wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset.