The composition of The Nutcracker was a pain for Tchaikovsky. He just didn’t warm up to the plot. To make things worse, he learned of the death of his sister Sasha. He may have fashioned the music for the Sugar Plum Fairy in memory of Sasha, helping to solve the compositional roadblock in which he found himself. In the middle of all this, Tchaikovsky also took a voyage to New York to celebrate the opening of Carnegie Hall. After his return to Russia The Nutcracker was finally completed and was first performed at the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, December 1892.