Play Me A Story... The Nutcracker

Let the sweet sounds of Esmeralda Tintner's 'Play Me A Story...The Nutcracker' transport you to the Land of the Sweets!

Combining exquisite violin playing, percussion, exotic Chinese pipa, storytelling, a dancer and enchanting illustrations to tell the much loved story of a tender hearted little girl, Marie, and her favourite toy, a wooden Nutcracker carved to look like a soldier. 


‘Play me a Story... The Nutcracker' is full of all the things that children love – magic, dancing, delicious food... and above all beautiful music. 

Unique, authentic, welcoming and nurturing. The perfect introduction to classical music and the theatre.


Children are guided to remain seated and listen quietly for the first part of the performance. In the second part of the performance the children can participate. Length of performance - 1 hour.

Suitable for children 3 - 8 years old and the young at heart!

'There is much joy and magic in this Nutcracker'

Elena Kats-Chernin

'enthralling for children and adults alike'

Lynndy Bennett, Children's Manager at Gleebooks

Esmeralda Tintner - violinist, narrator, creator artist

Esmeralda Tintner grew up surrounded by the exquisite music making and musical traditions of her extraordinary family. Her grandmother was cellist Kathleen Tuohy and her father was the renowned conductor Georg Tintner. He was conducting at Covent Garden when Esmerelda was born - literally into the theatre. Her first violin teacher was Natan Gutman, a pupil of Enescou.  Esmeralda has a Bachelor of Music Degree with Honours in violin performance from the University of Melbourne, a Master of Music from the Australian Institute of Music (with teacher Alice Waten) and a Certificate Diploma from the Rimsky-Korsakov State Conservatoire in St. Petersburg, Russia, where her teacher was Antonina Maksimovna Kazarina, the legendary Concertmaster of the Kirov Theatre Orchestra for 40 years. As a Conservatoire student Esmeralda was entitled to attend any performance at the Maryinsky (Kirov) Theatre, where she heard masterpieces from the Russian repertoire, including, of course, The Nutcracker.


As an orchestral violinist, Esmeralda has played with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, the West Australian Symphony Orchestra and the Sydney Philharmonia. She collaborates with Australia’s finest musicians on chamber music projects and writes and arranges music. Esmeralda became involved in music education when her daughter Carmela started to study the violin with a very special person - Yasuki Nakamura OA.  Mr. Nakamura has been her supervisor in her own teacher training. Esmeralda’s long term creative collaboration with violinist Lisa Stewart (Duo La Favorite) has been her inspiration for creating ‘Play me a Story… The Nutcracker’. ‘As a teacher, my goal is to nurture happy musicians. As an educator I want to nurture through music. But playing beautiful music with people dear to me and sharing that beauty with others - with love - that is my lifelong dream'. 

Lisa Stewart - violinist (see Acacia Quartet biography) and illustrator

"As a young mother, some 20 years ago, pushing my daughter in her pram to any book store I could find, I was instantly attracted to wrapping paper with illustrations by Jane Ray (wonderful British illustrator and author). I adored her attention to detail and her animals, trees, water, sun, moon and stars. A new love was born, of children's picture books and paper. Later in Germany I sent a CD of mine, as I also play the violin, and letter of thanks to Jane for her artwork. To my delight she responded with five picture books and a glorious phoenix card of hers and a friendship was formed.  My family and I flew to England to meet her. Seeing her studio and her artwork (admired by her husband and her three children) framed and hung throughout their home filled me with joy. My secret dream was to become an illustrator and be like Jane.


The illustrative style I use came about during the creation of a 20 page wordless love story. I began to cut out hundreds of tiny pieces of paper and create images. Friends and family were represented as trees, birds, fish, dragons and whales. A broken heart became thousands of little flowers and the night sky a full moon on black rice paper. With support from my dear friend Lynndy Bennett at Gleebooks, I sent some publishers a few of the pictures from the love story and had a call from Ana Vivas from Scholastic Press. We met and I got to send in ideas for a book by Kerry Brown called 'Can I Cuddle the Moon?' I enjoyed doing some little drawings and to my amazement was chosen to illustrate it. My dream of becoming an illustrator came true. I have since had six books published and worked on some wonderful projects like Play Me A Story... The Nutcracker".

Lulu Liu - Chinese pipa virtuoso

Sydney based Lu Liu (Lulu) is an internationally recognized virtuoso of the pipa, or Chinese Lute, the history of which dates back more than 2000 years. She is an outstanding exponent of the traditional repertoire as well as a leading interpreter of contemporary pipa music.


Lulu studied with Huangzhang Liu, Guizhi Hou and Gang Liu at the Shenyang Conservatory of Music, and with Qiang Zhang and Guanhua Li at China's prestigious Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. She then taught pipa at a Beijing University.


Lulu has performed extensively in China, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong. Career highlights include performing for an audience of 7000 at the 'World Peace' Outdoor Festival in South Korea, and featuring on the long-running BBC Radio Programme 'On the Wire'.


Lulu recorded Christopher Gordon's acclaimed soundtrack for the 2009 film 'Mao's Last Dancer'.  She has performed at the Chinese Gardens Chamber Music Festival, for Musica Viva and at the Sydney Opera House both as soloist and as a member of the Oriental Trio. 


Lulu currently is a PhD candidate with The University of Sydney. Her research article 'Contemporary Chinese Pi Pa Music and it's Future' was published in the Journal of the Council for Asian Musicology.

Mark Robinson - percussionist

Born in Sydney, Mark obtained a Bachelor of Music from the Sydney Conservatorium under the tutelage of Daryl Pratt and Richard Miller. He furthered his studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London where he graduated with a Post-Graduate Diploma. His principal teachers at the RAM included Neil Percy, David Searcy, Kurt-Hans Goedicke and Andrew Barclay. He was also awarded the James Blades Award for Percussion, the Zildjian prize and in 2012 he was appointed an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music (ARAM). During his time in the United Kingdom, Mark performed with some of Britain's finest orchestras including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra. With the LSO, he toured extensively throughout Europe and had the opportunity to perform under the direction of some of the world's most renowned conductors including Valery Gergiev, Bernard Haitink, André Previn and Yuri Temirkanov.


Mark moved to Belfast in 2006 after being appointed Section Leader of Percussion with the Ulster Orchestra, a position that he held until his return to Sydney in 2010. Mark currently holds the position of Assistant Principal Timpani/Tutti Percussion with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.


Mark has been a regular participant in the St Endellion and Aldeburgh music festivals. With the latter, he recorded the obbligato Timpani in Benjamin Britten's 'Nocturne' for BBC Radio 3. As a chamber musician, he has performed Bartók's 'Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion' and Luciano Berio's 'Linea' during the 2004 London Berio festival. He has also performed alongside Bob Becker (Nexus Percussion) and with internationally renowned soloist, Colin Currie. Most recently he has been a guest artist with Synergy Percussion. He is also on staff at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and is the Vice-President of the Australian chapter of the Percussive Arts Society, for which he has presented numerous master classes and education programs.

Lennox Niven - dancer, choreographer

Lennox was born in Sydney and trained at The Australian Ballet School where he received a Diploma and an Advanced Diploma of Dance.  In 2014 he received the Graeme Murphy Award for Excellence in Contemporary Dance.


He has performed as 'Moth' with Opera Australia in Baz Luhrman's A Midsummer Night's Dream, danced the role of 'Boy' in Tim Harbour's Sweedeedee for the Australian Ballet's 50th Anniversary Gala and toured with The Dancers' Company in 2014. 


Lennox enjoyed creating the choreography for Play Me A Story... The Nutcracker for sold out performances at The Sydney Opera House and the Penisular Summer Music Festival.  


Carmela Reznik - violinist

Carmela started piano lessons at the age of three with Evelina Dimitrova. When she was four she asked if she could play the violin as well. Carmela is now twelve and still loves her violin, and her violin teacher, Mr. Yasuki Nakamura.


Carmela has regular coaching from Laura MacDonald and Lisa Stewart and has attended international violin Summer Schools in Europe and Japan. 

Carmela goes to the International Grammar School in Sydney and alongside playing her violin, she loves playing soccer and cooking! 


It has been very exciting for Carmela to perform at the Sydney Opera House and different festivals with Play Me A Story... The Nutcracker.  She loves seeing the smiles on the childrens' faces and playing the beautiful music.