It was a supreme test of Leanne Cope’s professionalism when the ballerina was slipped a note by her handsome prince during the closing scenes of the Royal Opera House’s Nutcracker.
The note read “Will you marry me?” and the Royal Ballet First Artist simply read the message, pointed and hurried off stage, before answering “Yes”.
Paul Kay, the Nutcracker Prince and Ms Cope’s childhood sweetheart, delivered the surprise proposal to his partner, who dances the role of Clara, in a note-passing scene the duo had performed together on dozens of occasions.
It came as Clara was asked for directions in the Land of the Sweets by the Prince in the classic Tchaikovsky fairytale. Kay has asked the stage manager for permission to switch the note.
As the curtain fell, the soloist Kay fell to one knee and delivered a more traditional proposal in front of the entire troupe, presenting his sweetheart with a ring.
The couple were married in Bath at the weekend with Ms Cope the first of five female dancers within the company planning to tie the knot this year.
Tony Hall, then chief executive of the Royal Opera House and now Director-General of the BBC, described the on-set proposal as “the most romantic performance the main stage has ever seen.”