This year, the Mariinsky scheduled but one performance of The Nutcracker. (Never a holiday ballet in Russia, The Nutcracker is performed throughout the year.) But on December 15 and 16, George Balanchine’s Jewels takes the stage, clothed by Karinska, one of the great costume designers of the last century, and glittering like emeralds, rubies, and diamonds from the Czar’s vault. When it comes to aesthetic luxe, Jewels is sumptuous to the max. The last act, “Diamonds,” is set to music from Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 3 and suggests the Winter Palace, snow crystals drifting through its corridors and leading to a grand ball. —L.J.
Mariinsky Ballet Theatre Square, 1, Sankt-Peterburg, Russia, 190000 Get Directions »