Special performances at this family gathering include excerpts from the Metropolitan Opera's new English-language adaptation of Mozart's The Magic Flute (including an appearance by renowned baritone Nathan Gunn as Papageno); festive music by members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra; dancers from the School of American Ballet and New York City Ballet in a selection from George Balanchine's The Nutcracker; fire-juggling by the Gizmo Guys from the Big Apple Circus; and holiday favorites sung by Alvin Slaughter and the SRC All-City Gospel Chorale.
Beginning at 5 pm, Lincoln Center and O'Sullivan Tree Care will offer free 12" spruce seedlings to the first 500 children to visit the tree care station on the Plaza.
At 5:59 pm sharp — with help from Mickey and Minnie Mouse and from magic light wands distributed to the audience — the giant evergreen next to the fountain in Josie Robertson Plaza will be illuminated. This year's tree, a 50-foot Colorado Blue Spruce, is decorated by Wedgwood with specially-designed performing arts-themed ornaments.
Immediately afterwards, the Lincoln Square Business Improvement District hosts "Winter's Eve at Lincoln Square," a shopping and entertainment fair extending from the Time-Warner Center at Columbus Circle up Broadway to West 68th Street. In addition to food tastings and other in-store activities, there will be free entertainment — including appearances by violinist Joshua Bell and folksinger Peter Yarrow of the legendary trio Peter, Paul and Mary.