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Clara, a young girl, creeps downstairs on Christmas Eve to retrieve her favourite present. But a mysterious magician, Drosselmeyer, is waiting to sweep her off on a magical adventure.
Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker score was commissioned by the director of the Russian Imperial Theatres, following the resounding success of Sleeping Beauty in 1890. Marius Petipa created the scenario – based on a fairytale by E. T. A. Hoffman – and Lev Ivanov provided the choreography. The Nutcracker was first performed in 1892 at the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg. It initially had a poor reception, but its combination of enchanting choreography and an unforgettable score have since made it one of the best-loved of all ballets.
In Peter Wright's classic production, the stage sparkles with theatrical magic – a Christmas tree grows before our eyes, toy soldiers come to life to fight the villainous Mouse King and Clara is whisked to the Land of Sweets on a golden sleigh. Tchaikovsky's score contains some of the best-known melodies in ballet, from the flurrying sounds of the Waltz of the Snowflakes to the dream-like Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy and the vigorous Russian Dance. Julia Trevelyan Oman's designs draw upon 19th-century images of Christmas, making this a classic production for the festive season.
This production is suitable for children 5 years old and over.
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Venue: Royal Opera House
→ Charing Cross 8 min walk
→ Covent Garden 2 min walk