The popular tale of The Nutcracker comes to Cyprus this week with a broadcast from the Royal Opera House on Sunday. The screening will be Peter Wright’s nigh-on definitive production and ranks as one of the most enduring and enchanting versions of the story.
With its festive period setting, dancing snowflakes and enchanting stage magic, Lev Ivanov’s 1892 ballet has become the perfect Christmas entertainment, with Tchaikovsky’s sumptuous, sugar-spun music the most recognisable of all ballet scores.
The storyline follows young Clara when she creeps downstairs on Christmas Eve to play with her favourite present – a Nutcracker. But the mysterious magician Drosselmeyer is waiting to sweep her off on a magical adventure.
After defeating the Mouse King, the Nutcracker and Clara travel through the Land of Snow to the Kingdom of Sweets, where the Sugar Plum Fairy treats them to a wonderful display of dances. Back home, Clara thinks she must have been dreaming – but doesn’t she recognise Drosselmeyer’s nephew?
Loosely based on the story by ETA Hoffmann, the ballet opens with the lively Christmas party that is hosted by the Stahlbaum family, its Victorian setting captured in opulent detail by Julia Trevelyan Oman’s designs. Wright’s choreography incorporates surviving fragments of the ballet’s original material, including the sublime pas de deux for the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Prince. But in emphasising the relationship between Clara and the Nutcracker Prince, the production also gains a touching subtext of first love.
Reviews of the production are promising a phenomenal show.
Nutcracker Royal Ballet
Broadcast of the Royal Ballet’s performance of the ‘Nutcracker’. December 9. Rialto Theatre, Limassol. 6pm. Tel: 25-343902