Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without ‘The Nutcracker’ and its saccharine dose of Sugar Plum Fairy-filled magic. While we’re full of uncertainty about what Christmas will look like this year (kissing under the mistletoe is definitely off), the Royal Ballet is determined to provide us with our fix of dancing dolls and feisty mice by ensuring its quintessential festive production still goes ahead.
The Royal Opera House has announced it will be staging a Covid-safe version of Tchaikovsky’s 1892 masterpiece over the Christmas period. Audiences will be treated to a ‘reworked’ performance of Peter Wright’s production of the ballet, which has played at the theatre nearly every Christmas since 1984.
Dance has been hard hit by social distancing, with most choreography involving dancers touching each other, so the ballet’s usual routines may be altered. Despite this, ‘The Nutcracker’ will still be a Christmas treat, with Tchaikovsky’s magical score played by the Opera House’s orchestra and sumptuous sets by the late Julia Trevelyan Oman, a celebrated theatre designer.
The production is part of the ROH’s newly announced autumn season, which will see The Royal Ballet back on stage for the first time since lockdown began in March. The live dancing kicks off on October 9 with new show, ‘Back on Stage’: a one-night-only extravaganza reuniting the company’s dancers for an evening of its greatest hits in distanced routines and duets from ballet couples in bubbles.
As with all productions this year, audiences will be socially distanced. However, the ROH has also started offering tickets to online streams, so those who can’t see the performances in the flesh won’t miss out. Ticket details are yet to be announced for ‘The Nutcracker’, but hopefully the same virtual access will be available.
This Christmas might not be quite the time of comfort and joy we were expecting, but the prospect of this beautiful Christmas stalwart on the agenda gets our bells jingling.
Details for ‘The Nutcracker’, including dates and tickets, will be announced soon. See what’s available to book in the ROH’s autumn season here.
More Christmas cheer: the National Theatre saves panto season with ‘Dick Whittington’.