The Nutcracker dazzles children’s eyes, but it also confirms their deep suspicion that toys come to life, even when no one is looking or poking them repeatedly with cattle prods. Feel the season’s electricity with this GrouponLive deal to see International Ballet's The Nutcracker at The Peace Center. Choose between the following seating options:
- For $35, you get two tickets for seating in orchestra rows R–X or in Founders Circle rows D–G (a $70 value).
- For $45, you get two tickets for seating in orchestra rows A–Q or in Founders Circle rows A–C (a $90 value).
This Groupon is valid for the following shows:
- Saturday, December 8, at 8 p.m.
- Sunday, December 9, at 3 p.m.
Doors open one hour before showtime.
Based on a novel by the 19th-century romantic fabulist E.T.A. Hoffman, The Nutcracker weaves a magical tale of holiday adventure. Clara, the story's heroine, receives a nutcracker from her godfather, a wizardly toymaker named Drosselmeyer. Sneaking downstairs to see the toy after everyone else has gone to bed, Clara suddenly finds herself caught in the middle of a pitched battle between the toys and an army of mice. After saving the nutcracker with a well-thrown shoe to the Mouse King's head, Clara and her now-living prince venture into the Land of Snow and the Land of Sweets to celebrate amid the dances of nimble snowflakes and the regal Sugar Plum Fairy.
Tchaikovsky’s score features some of the most recognizable tunes in the repertoire, repurposed beyond the ballet world in works including Disney's Fantasia, which naturally chose to illustrate the music’s delicate beauty with dancing mushrooms and leaping radishes. Notable sections include the “Waltz of the Snowflakes,” which floats weightlessly above the angelic voices of a youth choir, and the second act's medley of exotic national dances, including a Spanish bolero and Russian Trepak. The music-box-like theme of the “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” springs from a celesta, a new instrument Tchaikovsky came across in Paris and hurriedly inserted into the score before his musical rivals could make use of its haunting, bell-like sound.
Initially unpopular when it premiered in Russia, The Nutcracker languished for decades with a reputation as one of Tchaikovsky's lesser works. Then, in the 1950s, the ballet’s status as a fixture of the holiday season began to grow as suddenly as Clara’s magic Christmas tree when renowned American choreographer George Balanchine staged it for the New York Ballet. Balanchine's elegant staging remains the most popular, alternating between breathtaking displays of balletic mastery by soloists and duos and large-scale set pieces that fill the stage with luminous costumes.
The Peace Center
Once a scene of decaying storefronts and empty streets, downtown Greenville was in danger of becoming a ghost town before its remarkable recovery, spurred by the 1985 decision to build a state-of-the-art cultural center in the area. Choosing a parcel of land that held three derelict—but historic—manufacturing buildings, The Peace Center's architects incorporated all three 19th century structures into the center’s modern design, elegantly wedding the town's future and past. The Peace Center's modernist glass façade bathes the lobby in glistening light, and its expertly designed acoustics prevent echoes from waking the pterodactyls perched in the rafters.