The Nutcracker by the Royal Ballet

Christmas is only a few weeks away and I’m looking forward to December 1st to finally be able to get into the Christmas spirit! Mince pies, carols, decorations, Christmas shopping and mulled wine…the run-up to Christmas day itself is often the most fun part of this holiday, which can be a bit intense at times! One of the loveliest Christmas traditions in Britain are the pantomimes, such as Cinderella or Snow White, and classic ballets such as The Nutcracker and The Snow Queen, which transport children and adults alike to a world of comedy, beauty and wonder.

Having grown up in France, I never had the chance to attend one of these traditional Christmas shows and it was always my mother’s ambition that I would some day see one. That day finally came on Thursday! A friend of a friend works at the Royal Opera House and managed to get us free tickets to the rehearsal of The Nutcracker. (Thank you Lou and Ryan!) Apparently, they never rehearse The Nutcracker usually because it is such a well-known, well-rehearsed piece. But this year, it is being filmed for the BBC so they needed to get all the cameras ready.

I’d never been to the Royal Opera House before as tickets are so dear and hard to come by. But honestly, it is a thing of beauty. The interior is domed, gold and red velvet adorn the walls and seats and the show itself…well! Let’s just say I cried many times at the incredible display of beauty.

The detail put into the costumes, sets and movements of each and every dancer is breathtaking and even a little overwhelming. The audience is transported from the traditional Victorian Christmas party to a world ruled by toys and fairies. The costumes were really incredible, especially those of the Snow Fairies.

Having done ballet for a few years, I completely understand the amount of effort, practice, precision and discipline that it must have taken to achieve such a beautiful ballet. Yet, even I was fooled by the dancers who make it look so easy! Illusions of dancing on air, lifting the women like feather pillows…but behind all that, the weight and pull of gravity…Astounding. It can’t only me who thinks there is something so wrong, yet so right, about fit men in tights!

The orchestra also did a fantastic job, playing Tchaikovsky’s music as it should be and moving me to tears. If you haven’t seen it, try getting tickets for next year, I hear they are already sold out!

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