If I count for myself, I think I visited classical ballet just one time. And I don’t even remember what it was. I just don’t understand dancing I think. Modern dance I can admire, but to express a story by dance moves as in classical ballet, not my thing.
The music on the other hand, can be quite interesting. It has been a while that I listened to this record. It is the complete score (is that what this is called?) for the ballet, not only the highlights. In an incredible good performance by the Concertgebouw under Antal Dorati. The recording is widely recommended as the best ever made of the complete work. It is also the third recording Dorati made of it.
The premiere in 1892 was less of a success. There was a lot of critique, also because Tchaikovsky didn’t exactly follow the material as written by E. T. A. Hoffmann. Decades later, some of the melodies are found everywhere, from Madonna to the Pet Shop Boys, from Disney’s Fantasia to some versions of Tetris. Tchaikovsky rules.
An interesting little tidbit: the first recording of this work is from 1909, by the London Palace Orchestra, conducted by Herman Finck. I would not mention this, except for that it was actually the first ‘Album’. The four records that made the whole set, were put into one booklet, so the whole thing looked like an album of sorts. This is the origin of the word album as it is known now.