Christmas would hardly be Christmas without Tchaikovsky’s ‘The Nutcracker’. My own first experience with this glorious confection took place many years ago at New York’s Lincoln Center. I watched, entranced, as a giant Christmas tree rose from the stage as if by magic and an enchanting girl, hardly older than myself, leaped and pirouetted around the stage with an assortment of exotic characters. The Sugarplum Fairy! Drosselmayer! Dancing mice! Toy soldiers! I resolved then and there to be a ballerina.
Well that never happened. What did happen was a lifelong love of ballet which I can now indulge with the Royal Ballet’s live transmissions direct into movie theatres. This past September saw the first-rate production of Sleeping Beauty beamed to Beaulieu-sur-Mer. And tomorrow, September 16, we’ll be treated to the Royal Ballet’s Nutcracker. This acclaimed production directed by Peter Wright stars Francesca Hayward as Clara and Alexander Campbell as the Nutcracker Prince while Lauren Cuthbertson dances the Sugarplum Fairy and Gary Avis portrays the devilish Drosselmayer.
For those unfamiliar with live transmissions, these direct-from-the-opera-house broadcasts bring all the freshness and immediacy of actual attendance at the show but on a big screen near you. On the Riviera, you can watch at Le Cinema de Beaulieu or at the Cinema d’Alma in Sophia Antipolis. The latter venue offers free admission to grade-school kids accompanied by an adult. You can find the season’s schedule for Royal Opera House ballets and operas here.
For inspiration, check out this video of the dancers rehearsing for this production: