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Classical Sprouts: Tchaikovsky's 'The Nutcracker'

NYC Ballet's production of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker

You probably don't have to look hard to find a performance of The Nutcracker in a city near you this holiday season.

But Tchaikovsky's ballet actually wasn't that successful when it premiered in 1892; it was met with all kinds of criticism.

But in 1954, the New York City Ballet premiered a new version of The Nutcracker re-choreographed by George Balanchine.

Maria Tallchief starred as the Sugar Plum Fairy, and her popularity helped this new version of the ballet become the holiday staple it is now.

NYC Ballet's The Nutcracker

The ballet takes place at Christmas Eve party, where Clara, the main character, is drawn to a nutcracker her godfather, Herr Drosselmeyer made.

Later that night, Clara ventures back to the parlor to check on the nutcracker, which transforms into a life-size nutcracker that protects her from the Mouse King and his minion mice.

Listen to this week's episode to find out what happens next!

Where did nutcrackers originate? Find out.

Classical Sprouts is produced by Emily Duncan Wilson.


Kate Botello is a host and producer at Classical IPR.
Emily Duncan Wilson is IPR's digital content manager and is the producer of "Classical Sprouts" and "Kids Commute".