A few weeks ago, my amazing husband surprised me with tickets to go see the San Francisco Ballet perform The Nutcracker in December. To say that I am ecstatically thrilled would be an understatement. Now that Thanksgiving is over, I have been playing The Nutcracker’s musical score in preparation for our trip.
It’s been almost three years since my husband and I have seen a ballet – or any musical/dance production, for that matter – together. So this is a wonderful ‘excuse’ to dress up and enjoy the fine arts together.
First presented at the Mayinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, in December 1892, Russian composer, Peter Tchaikovsky, and mastermind choreographer, Marius Petipa, worked together to compose the infamous ballet which is based off of E.T.A. Hoffman’s tale “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.”
Interestingly enough, the first production of The Nutcracker was a failure with critics and audiences alike, although Czar Alexander III was delighted with it. However, the ballet gained popularity with future productions, particularly in the United States.
The first U.S. performance of The Nutcracker was by the San Francisco Opera Ballet in 1944. It is most fitting, then, that my husband and I will be enjoying this world-renowned ballet in the city that, in a way, helped popularize it to the acclaimed holiday tradition that is has become.