The Nutcracker review, Royal Opera House: A Christmas treat on a handsome scale

The traditional production is back to full strength after 2020’s version, which was revised due to Covid

Zoe Anderson
Thursday 08 December 2022 08:57 GMT
<p>Yasmine Naghdi as the Sugar Plum Fairy in ‘The Nutcracker’ </p>

Yasmine Naghdi as the Sugar Plum Fairy in ‘The Nutcracker’

The Royal Ballet’s Nutcracker is grand and gilded, a Christmas treat on a handsome scale. From its mighty growing Christmas tree to Yasmine Naghdi’s poised Sugar Plum Fairy, it’s an evening of festive sparkle.

Peter Wright’s production is firmly traditional. The heroine Clara starts her journey in naturalistic 19th-century Nuremberg, before spinning off into the fantasy land of sweets. Julia Trevelyan Oman’s scenery is delicately drawn, all snowy pine forests and spun sugar. The family party is full of bustle and charm, with the onstage children awed by the dancing dolls, or getting sleepy before the end.

Even the most traditional Nutcracker changes over time. In 2020, Wright’s production was revised for Covid safety: it reduced the number of child performers and took them out of the mouse battle altogether. For this revival, they’re back to full strength. It’s good to see a new generation of dancers as the war-like mice and embattled Christmas decorations, though the pacing of the battle needs more bite.

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