New York City, New York
When it comes to Christmastime performances, nobody puts on a holiday show like New York City. The Big Apple is home to three of the most accalimed holiday performances in the world: Handel’s Messiah at Carnegie Hall; George Ballanchine’s production of The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center, and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall. The oldest of these annual traditions is Messiah, which has been performed by the Oratorio Society of New York since 1874, and at Carnegie Hall every year since it opened.
Peter Ilyich Tchaikofsky’s most famous ballet, The Nutcracker, is performed in theaters around the world during the holiday season; but the definitive rendition is the annual classic that is performed by the New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater. George Ballanchine, one of the most acclaimed choreographers in history, both founded the New York City Ballet and established The Nutcracker as an integral part of its annual repertoire in 1954. It has since become the most lucrative regular classical performance piece in history.
New York City is also home to the most successful American-original holiday performance of all time: the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. This show has been a perennial favorite since 1933. It features a series of musical vinnettes, from the Parade of the Toy Soldiers to the Dancing Santas to the Nativity, all starring the world’s most famous dance troupe, the Radio City Rockettes. No true holiday excursion to New York is really complete without attending at least one of these three amazing performances.
Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and Radio City Music Hall are all located within a few blocks of each other in Midtown Manhattan. Messiah plays just a handful of performances in the two weeks leading up to Christmas Eve. The Nutcracker and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular have longer runs, usually from the last week in November through the first week in January, with multiple performances on most days. Showtimes and ticket prices vary on an annual basis. Web: www.carnegiehall.org, http://new.lincolncenter.org, www.radiocity.com (official websites of Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and Radio City Music Hall, respectively)