The Nutcracker, Royal Opera House, review: Peter Wright’s production is a sumptuous and traditional festive treat

Tchaikovsky’s much-loved ballet stars Marianela Nunez as the Sugar Plum Fairy

Zoe Anderson
Wednesday 24 November 2021 17:12
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<p>Marianela Nunez and Vadim Muntagirov in ‘The Nutcracker’ at The Royal Opera House</p>

Marianela Nunez and Vadim Muntagirov in ‘The Nutcracker’ at The Royal Opera House

There’s a glow of affection surrounding The Royal Ballet’s Nutcracker. Peter Wright’s production is a sumptuous and traditional festive treat, revived this year with particular warmth. From the Christmas party to Marianela Nunez’s silvery poise as the Sugar Plum Fairy, it’s an evening of good-hearted sparkle.

Created in 1984, this production has had various tweaks over the years, such as beefing up the role of the magician Drosselmeyer, or recent adjustments to make it more Covid-safe. On stage, it feels refreshed: so many details jump out.

Gary Avis’s genial Drosselmeyer whirls around his tiny workshop, wrapping up each toy with tender care. At the party, you can trace the relationships and personalities of the guests, from children creating their own playtime worlds to a housekeeper politely spooked by the magician. Choreographed by Will Tuckett, the new mouse battle scene has toy soldiers shaking their way out of their castle-shaped box, eager to join the fray.

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