Born into a family of musicians, violinist, composer and educator Esmeralda Tintner can’t remember a time when music wasn’t part of her life. Her grandmother was cellist Kathleen Tuohy and her father was conductor Georg Tintner. This month, she returns to the Sydney Opera House with a performance for children called Play Me a Story… The Nutcracker, which tells the story of a young girl called Marie and her favourite toy, a wooden nutcracker carved to look like a soldier. No-one else wants such a funny looking toy, which only makes Marie love the nutcracker even more.

Written and performed by Tintner and Lisa Stewart, leader of the Acacia Quartet, Play Me a Story… The Nutcrackerfeatures a transcription of Tchaikovsky’s score for two violins, along with percussion, the Chinese pipa, dance and projected illustrations. Tintner tells Limelightabout the piece, which has already enjoyed considerable success.

The Nutcracker Play me a Story… The Nutcracker. Image courtesy of Esmeralda Tintner

The story you tell sounds rather different to the one we know that we know from the famous ballet. Is that right?

Yes, because the ballet is based on a later version of the story...