The Royal Ballet's The Nutcracker is truly special. There's general agreement that Peter Wright's production of this Tchaikovsky classic cannot be bettered. Julia Trevelyan Oman's designs are once sumptuous and cosy for the Act I Christmas Eve party in a 19th-century well-to-do German family home, and truly magical for Act II's Kingdom of the Sweets setting.
The production will be modified to obey Covid-19 restrictions and, of course, there will be social distancing in the audience. But we are promised that eye-filling elements, such as the family Christmas tree that grows and grows at the behest of the magician Dr Drosselmeyer, as we cross from the real world into the realm of dreams, will be present and correct.
And, of course, the ballet is full of glorious dancing, such as this ecstatic Act I pas de deux between the young Clara and her Nutcracker doll come to life, performed here by Anna Rose O'Sullivan and Marcelino Sambé.
Much of the ballet can be kept practically unaltered, as the company can rely either on life partners, or established bubbles, to perform the various pas de deux. So, there will be a variety of casts for Clara and her Nutcracker, of which O"Sullivan and Sambé will certainly be one, and for the most famous pas de deux of them all, that of the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Prince, that marks the culmination of the ballet. Look out for Marianela Nuñez and Vadim Muntagirov in these roles.
Elsewhere, ensemble numbers, such as the dance of the Snowflakes, will be possible with no contact, and many of the divertissements can be tweaked to accommodate the restrictions. A lot more work will be needed for the Act I party, where normally the children busy themselves tagging each other, and there's much greeting and canoodling by the adults.
We're told the choreographer Will Tuckett (formerly a Royal Ballet dancer) is reworking the battle scene between the Nutcracker and the Mouse King and their armies.
Students of the Royal Ballet School will perform alongside the full company, and Tchaikovsky's score will be played live by the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, making this one Nutcracker you do not want to miss.
And should you want to get up close and personal with this magical work, you can watch a special filmed Insight of 'The Nutcracker in Rehearsal' via the Royal Opera House YouTube channel on Tuesday 1 December at 7pm.
NOTE: Tickets for The Nutcracker go on sale to the general public on Tuesday, 1 December
Given that seating in the auditorium is reduced, early booking is advised.
|What||The Royal Ballet, The Nutcracker 2020|
|Where||Royal Opera House, Bow Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9DD | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Covent Garden (underground)|
11 Dec 20 – 03 Jan 21, Most performances at 14:00. 15, 16 and 17 Dec at 19:00. 24 Dec at 12:00. Dur.: 3 hours TBC
|Website||Click here to book|