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NYCB Vol. 9 No. 8 - Nutcracker

(8/50) On the first night of Nutcracker in 1964, when the ballet and sets had been expanded to fit the massive proportions of the new New York State Theater: "Down in the orchestra pit, the timpanist Arnold Goldberg was positioned, as always, to see Balanchine in his usual place, downstage right. What Goldberg hasn’t forgotten in five decades of State Theater Nutcrackers is the first time the Christmas tree—this one bigger, better, and more beautiful than before—began its inexorable growth upward. It wasn’t the 4:45 performance but the dress rehearsal, and Goldberg was watching not the tree but Balanchine. “He’s standing with his hands in his jeans pockets, looking around,” says Goldberg. “And it came up. He was breathless. It was priceless, the joy of watching Mr. B.’s face... I mean, he’d dreamt about it. He had the stage built so that the tree could be one piece. That tree meant everything to The Nutcracker.”

—Written by Laura Jacob’s for Vanity Fair, 2014

The NYCB Orchestra under the direction of Leon Barzin. Photos by Radford Bascome, 1954.

New York Public Libary

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