One of our favorite classical masterpieces of the season is Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s ubiquitous ballet and suite.
From the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, to the tip-toeing mice, the sounds and sights of “The Nutcracker” are synonymous with winter — now. But the work wasn’t a hit at first! The ballet premiered at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, in December, 1892, and critics panned the performance. Tchaikovsky never knew the legacy he would leave around the globe.
Here are ten reasons we’re falling in love with the Russian composer’s most famous work — all over again.
1. This free video of Act II, performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and conductor Andris Nelsons. (Yes, free!)
2. Remembering why “The Nutcracker” became a holiday staple — thanks to this listenable explanation by Miles Hoffman, author of The NPR Classical Music Companion, with NPR’s Renee Montagne.
3. The Royal Ballet‘s stunning “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy”:
4. This 21st century take on the classic: “The Nutcracker” gets the virtual-reality treatment, courtesy of the Atlanta Ballet.
Welcome to a new version of The Nutcracker, complete with high-tech flourishes https://t.co/kDSFXo3ZUt
— VANITY FAIR (@VanityFair) November 26, 2018
5. The Boston Ballet‘s Nutcracker Bear. I mean, come on, what’s not to love?
We’ve got a beary special treat for you! Go behind the scenes and get your paws on the secrets behind Boston’s most beloved Bear. Join us for #BBNutcracker and get ready to make memories that will last fur-ever https://t.co/gkQJiKtGD1 pic.twitter.com/VnWVwPPYRZ
— Boston Ballet (@BostonBallet) October 28, 2018
6. No matter what city, state, or country you live in, there’s probably a live Nutcracker performance near you. This database keeps track of where Nutcrackers are happening all season long.
7. Bring the (grand) kids. “The Nutcracker” can introduce classical music to new fans of all ages — and many performers provide educational guides, such as this downloadable PDF from the San Francisco Ballet.
8. Speaking of likability for the whole family? Meet New York City Ballet‘s young princes, Tenzin Niles and Athan Sporek:
Meet the 2 soulful 11-year-olds who play the Prince in this year’s “Nutcracker” at New York City Ballet https://t.co/rXab7jO6tN
— The New York Times (@nytimes) November 24, 2018
9. Disney’s latest film, “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms,” which uses some of Tchaikovsky’s original music in the score! (P.S. — Guess which orchestra did the soundtrack!)
10. In the end, it is all about the captivating music. Every major orchestra and every great conductor has a recording of Nutcracker for sale. Enjoy this new release from Los Angeles Philharmonic led by Gustavo Dudamel or pick your pleasure. Plus: You can hear this great classical masterpiece on all three of our holiday streams!
Post updated December 5, 2018