If you think Philadelphia is only known for the famous Philly cheesesteak, you have not experienced the hype and magic of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker at the Academy of Music. Even if you have had the chance to see this ballet during the season, collect your loved ones and be sure to see it again in its 49th year. The event attracts more than 50,000 people each year, and seeing this ballet during the holiday season has become one of the city’s most famous family traditions.
George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker was originally choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov with a score from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The ballet premiered at the Maiinksy Theater in Saint Petersburg, Russia on December 18, 1892. The Nutcracker features woodwinds, brass instruments, percussion, keyboards, strings, and a chorus.
The story was adapted from the story “The Nutcracker and the King of Mice” written by E.T.A. Hoffman. It is the story of a young girl who dreams of a Nutcracker price. Together, they must battle an army of gingerbread soldiers and mice, led by an evil Mouse King, and meet the Sugar Plum Fairy.
Seeing this gorgeous production is heightened by the lush environment of the Academy of Music. Built between 1855 to 1857, it is the oldest active opera house in the United States. Located on South Broad Street in Center City, it is home to both the Opera Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Ballet.
The Nutcracker will run from December 8 to 31, 2017. Performances are held throughout the day and evening. Be sure to reserve tickets in advance, and stop by Geno’s Steaks for a famous Philly cheesesteak before or after the performance. Geno’s is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.