The Nutcracker, The Royal Opera House: Review

4.00

ROH, London

The Royal Ballet’s Nutcracker is the most traditional of British productions.

Julia Trevelyan Oman’s designs evoke 19th-century Nuremberg in loving detail: snow lying deep on steep roofs of the town, carved and gilded angels. Though Peter Wright has added more conjuring tricks to his original production, he’s kept the warmth of the family party scenes, the magic of the growing Christmas tree.

This revival has a delightful heroine in Francesca Hayward’s young Clara. Just promoted out of the corps de ballet, Hayward has bright, spontaneous stage presence, with a sense of wonder at her enchanted journey. Her dancing is airy, with a flowing sense of line. Alexander Campbell is a characterful Nutcracker, with a springy jump. Gary Avis gives the magician Drosselmeyer a touch of melancholy alongside the panache.

Laura Morera dances the Sugar Plum Fairy with regal warmth. She slipped in the pas de deux, but recovered with triumphant aplomb. She’s an intelligent, musical dancer, burnishing the details of Ivanov’s choreography.

There are rough edges elsewhere: some strain in the orchestra, conducted by Martin West, and some shaky dancing from the corps. The national dance divertissements were a mixed bag, though Yuhui Choe is an elegant Rose Fairy.

In repertory until 16 January. Box office 020 7304 4000.

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