When Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s ballet The Nutcracker debuted on a chilly December evening in 1892 at the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre of Saint Petersburg, critical and popular reception was, to put it kindly, tepid. The much shorter suite, however, comprising around 20 minutes of the total score, proved more popular and kept The Nutcracker from fading into oblivion in subsequent years. Then, over half a century later, in 1944, something remarkable happened. The San Francisco Ballet staged the full ballet for the first time in the United States, and the performance was a smashing success. In 1954, the New York City Ballet followed suit with its inaugural (and now annual) production of The Nutcracker, which today stands as Tchaikovsky’s most famous composition in the U.S. and, arguably, the most beloved ballet in the world. Now through January 5, you too have the opportunity to experience this stunning Christmas tradition as performed by the New York City Ballet, whose prestige very nearly rivals that of The Nutcracker itself. All performances take place at the magnificent David H. Koch Theater of Lincoln Center, an easy 20-minute drive (or half-hour stroll) from the Lotte New York Palace.
Address: 20 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023