i Father Christmas, annual giftgiver

Not a regular in the public eye this one.

The Nutcracker, Coliseum, London

Strip away the outsize costumes and dream noodling, and marvel at the dancing

London Symphony Orchestra/ Mutter/ Gergiev, Barbican Hall (4/5)

For anyone who’s ever thought that the term Vorsprung durch Technik might be better applied to the superstar violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter than a certain brand of automobile her hair-raising account of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with Valery Gergiev and the London Symphony Orchestra will have given pause.

Absolutely crackers: The Royal Ballet's production of 'The Nutcracker'

The Nutcracker: It's all going nuts at the ballet

You expect to see The Nutcracker staged at Christmas – but this year's snowstorm of productions is overwhelming. The trouble is there's not much else to take its place, says Jessica Duchen

Ken Russell arriving to enter the Celebrity Big Brother house

Ken Russell: Film director whose style was unmistakable and whose love of controversy defined his career

Ken Russell was a flamboyant and often controversial figure who won an Oscar nomination for his film Women in Love (1969), famous for its graphic and passionate nude wrestling scene between Alan Bates and Oliver Reed. An eccentric, larger-than-life personality, he was for a time the British cinema's enfant terrible, who often battled censors and distributors over his unconventional approach to such varied and distinctive fare as The Music Lovers (1970), The Devils (1971), The Boy Friend (1971) and the rock opera Tommy (1975).

The Sleeping Beauty, Royal Opera House, London
Manon, Royal Opera House, London

With fizzing invention, this limitless masterpiece springs its thrills once again

Bolshoi reopens after six year closure

For the first time in six years, the strains of Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov and Prokofiev rang out from the orchestra pit at the Bolshoi last night, as Russia's most famous theatre reopened after a six-year closure.

Album: Manchester Camerata, Tchaikovsky: Variations On A Rococo Theme; Prokofiev: Symphony No 1 (Avie)

This is the first fruit of Gábor Takács-Nagy's tenure as conductor with Manchester Camerata.

The Queen of Spades, Grand Theatre, Leeds

Like other publicly funded enterprises, Opera North is feeling the pinch, and has had to cut back on the current season. But it retains its characteristic spirit of adventure, and is mounting three fresh productions of works new to its repertoire, as well as pressing on with its semi-staged Ring Cycle.

Bourne again: ballet's enfant terrible bites back

Modern choreography's most colourful figure is getting his teeth into Sleeping Beauty

Album: David Trio, Tchaikovsky / Shostakovich (Stradivarius)

Piano trios by Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich are meticulously played by the David Trio, a chamber ensemble of growing repute, each member a distinguished player in his own right.

Prom 36, Royal Albert Hall, London<br/>Prom 35, Royal Albert Hall, London<br/>Prom 32, Royal Albert Hall, London

Rhythm gives birth to melody at a landmark Prom to honour the superstar of misnamed minimalism

The Guangdong Acrobatic Troupe's Swan Lake will thrill audiences and anger purists

Seeing is usually believing. But sometimes it isn't – and the Guangdong Acrobatic Troupe of China's Swan Lake is a case in point.

Swan Lake, Royal Opera House, London<br/>Carlos Acosta: Premieres Plus, Coliseum, London

There's no touching the Mariinsky corps for uniformity, while principal Lopatkina demonstrates the art of maturing into a role

Album: John Cage, The Works for Percussion 1 (Mode)

Despite the title, this 43rd volume of Mode's John Cage Edition focuses more on his early experiments with radios, tape and turntables.

Swan Lake, Royal Opera House, London

They need to spread their wings
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