Must See This Winter: Nutcracker Christmas Exhibition in Zagreb


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Nutcracker Christmas Exhibition in Zagreb Museum of Arts and Crafts | Mexatia

We already planned out our visit to Zagreb Christmas markets, when I noticed the special Nutcracker exhibition will be opening the very same day. Of course, we extended our visit to the city center and headed straight to the Zagreb’s Museum of Arts and Crafts first. 

From November 26, 2016, until February 27, 2017, the Museum of Arts and Crafts is the venue to visit in the city. Unique and never seen before, the Nutcracker Christmas exhibition in Zagreb will capture your heart easily, no matter if you are a fan or not.

Read more: When did Zagreb Christmas market become this awesome?!

The Nutcracker Christmas Fairy Tale

Following the story of the most popular Christmas ballet in the world, the Nutcracker exhibition will draw you into a magical story of Clara and her toy. Even the story is based on “The Nutcracker and the King of Mice” written by E. T. A. Hoffman, today’s ballet is a bit different. However, the basics remain the same – it follows the story of young Clara, a German girl who dreams of a fierce Nutcracker Prince battling the scary Mouse King with seven heads. 

It all starts with Clara’s family hosting their annual Christmas party where her Christmas present, a beautiful Nutcracker toy, becomes a hit. Her jealous brother breaks it and the family tries to repair it. They did the best they could but Clara, worried about him, sneaks back to the tree and falls asleep with the toy in her arms.

Read more: Forget Advent in Vienna, head to Zagreb instead!

Nutcracker Christmas Exhibition in Zagreb Museum of Arts and Crafts | Mexatia

Nutcracker Christmas Exhibition in Zagreb Museum of Arts and Crafts | Mexatia

As the clock strikes midnight, the toys around the tree come to life and the Mouse King attacks them with his army. After the grand victory and thanks to Clara’s love, the Nutcracker turns into a prince and takes her on a magical journey through the Snow Forest and the Kingdom of sweets where they dance and celebrate. Unfortunately, every dream comes to its end – Clara wakes up underneath the tree still holding her beloved Nutcracker. 

Nutcracker Christmas Exhibition in Zagreb Museum of Arts and Crafts | Mexatia Nutcracker Christmas Exhibition in Zagreb Museum of Arts and Crafts | Mexatia

Nutcracker Christmas Exhibition in Zagreb Museum of Arts and Crafts | Mexatia

The Enchanting Nutcracker Christmas Exhibition in Zagreb

You do not need to know the story, or see the ballet to love this exhibition. It will enchant you with its fairy tale scenography, details from behind the scene and those wonderful costumes which were worn by some famous ensembles.

You can see the material from Saint Petersburg 1892 premiere, costumes worn in Milan’s Scala and Zagreb National theater as well as some items from Jelko Yuresha’s (Željko Jureša) private collection. He was Croatian / British artist who traveled the world with his wife Belinda Wright in order to promote the ballet. They were both regulars in the Nutcracker ensemble since late 1940-is and together they staged many choreographies and designed costumes, jewelry, and sets.

Nutcracker Christmas Exhibition in Zagreb Museum of Arts and Crafts | Mexatia Nutcracker Christmas Exhibition in Zagreb Museum of Arts and Crafts | Mexatia

As the Nutcracker is the most frequently performed classical ballet, many theaters around the world made their own adaptations. This exhibition shows several costumes designed by a famous costume designer Nicholas Georgiadis, designed for performances in Milan’s Scala during 1960-is. They are amazing, aren’t they?

In Zagreb, the Nutcracker has been performing since 1931. However, in the spirit of the former socialist Yugoslavia, the story did not take place on a Christmas Eve (Christmas was not celebrated back then), but on Clara’s birthday and, since then, several versions of the ballet were performed over the years. 

Read more: Croatian winter comfort food you should try

Ticket for this wonderful exhibition will cost you 40 kn per person (around 5,5€), just make sure to come before February 27 when the fairy tale ends. Museum is located in Zagreb, Croatia, just across the National Theatre in the city center, so you can’t miss it. If you have some time free, in the basement there is also an excellent restaurant and cafe (a place where we had our wedding celebration, actually!).

Besides those spectacular Nutcracker toys exhibited, the youngsters will enjoy Santa’s workshop house in the museum’s lobby, music listening corner and dreamy toys they can bring home as a souvenir

Nutcracker Christmas Exhibition in Zagreb Museum of Arts and Crafts | Mexatia Nutcracker Christmas Exhibition in Zagreb Museum of Arts and Crafts | Mexatia

In total, the exhibition about the ballet performed in the most beautiful time of the year is very well organized, attractive and interesting. I would call it being extremely successful since it made us want to see the ballet performance again. Too bad all the tickets were already sold out. But, if you have an opportunity, make sure to visit the Nutcracker Christmas Exhibition in Zagreb! Also, it is a great place to warm up while going around the city and trying all those delicious winter comfort food.

Museum of Arts and Crafts
Trg maršala Tita
Zagreb, Croatia
Entrance fee: 40 kn

If you or your little ones are fans of the Nutcracker, you might consider treating yourself with this precious souvenirs.
   
 

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20 Discussion to this post

  1. OMG I would so go to Zagreb just for this exhibition alone. Lovely photos I am so envious.

  2. Fiona Mai says:

    Ohhh that looks so charming! Articles like this just make me wanna pack up and hit the road again. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Wow this looks like a great exhibit, I love the Nutcracker! Thanks for sharing, I’ll have to keep this in mind!

  4. Wow, this is really cool! I remember reading your post on the Christmas Markets and thinking that would be amazing to see. Now this is adding more fuel to the fire. Perhaps a trip to Zagreb is in the cards for me next Christmas!?

  5. Kathy - Walkabout Wanderer says:

    I have never been to a ballet performance or seen the nutcracker story however this post has really made me want to go to the ballet. Looks like you had a really nice time.

    • I do not like ballets and this exhibition made me want to go again! When I was a kid, 12 – 13 years old, friends of mine performed in the Nutcracker ballet and of course I was bored (impatient kid). We will really try to get the tickets this year!

  6. How stunning! Love the vintage feel of this exhibit! It’s a bargain for around 5 euros!

  7. Elena says:

    Wow, look at those beautiful costumes! Your photos are so lively that I feel like I am right there with you. Even though I was thinking about Croatia exclusively as a summer destination, I might change my mind. Thanks for sharing this amazing experience!

    • Thanks, Elena! We need to work hard to change people’s mind – Croatia is definitely not just a summer destination. These days we even have two FIS ski races close to Zagreb!

  8. Gemma says:

    Oh I absolutely love the Nutcracker! The ballet is incredible and this makes me want to see it again. Love all of your pictures.

    • Thanks a lot, Gemma! There are ballet performances every December in Zagreb, but the tickets are sold out immediately. I will need to be faster next year 🙂

  9. This post makes me so happy! I’m a trained dancer and I studied ballet professionally when i was younger. the costumes are just stunning. I’d love to see this for myself.

  10. Jean says:

    Oh wow. Those customs are utterly divine. I’m not a huge fan of the play but would love to see this display.

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