Royal Ballet’s ‘The Nutcracker’ will be performed at the Royal Opera House this Christmas

29 September 2020, 11:42 | Updated: 1 October 2020, 17:23

The Nutcracker at the Royal Opera House
The Nutcracker at the Royal Opera House. Picture: Royal Ballet/Tristram Kenton

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

It’s not Christmas without Tchaikovsky’s ‘The Nutcracker’...

Ballets take time to produce, prepare for and rehearse. And with current COVID-19 regulations, it wasn’t unthinkable that the annual magic of Tchaikovsky might be cancelled this Christmas.

But it seems this December, the composer’s classic ballet is returning to the stage for a live, socially distanced audience. The Royal Ballet’s The Nutcracker will be performed at the Royal Opera House in a reworked, “COVID-secure” production.

Adapted from Peter Wright’s enchanting production, a favourite of the company since 1984, the Tchaikovsky ballet will have costumes designed by Julia Trevelyan Oman. No opening date has been confirmed yet.

The Nutcracker is a favourite with audiences around Christmas time. The fairy-tale ballet, with its gorgeous music and romantic imagery, opens in a Christmas party setting and follows the young Clara, who befriends a nutcracker and is drawn into a world of waltzing snowflakes, a handsome prince and the Sugar-Plum Fairy.

A number of major ballet companies, including the Birmingham Royal Ballet and its annual enchanting production at the Birmingham Hippodrome, have already been forced to cancel The Nutcracker for this December. The show does, however, plan to make its annual appearance at the Royal Albert Hall.

Read more: What makes The Nutcracker the perfect Christmas ballet? >

What makes The Nutcracker the perfect Christmas ballet? | Classic FM

We’ll also hear music from The Royal Opera this December, as it plans to perform several Christmas concerts with its world-famous orchestra and chorus.

The announcement includes a whole new Autumn programme, beginning on 9 October with a special livestreamed performance, The Royal Ballet: Back on Stage – their first live performance with an audience since the beginning of lockdown. After an absence of seven months the whole company will be reunited with the orchestra for a number of socially distanced routines and dance duets, from ballet couples in bubbles.

The venue also announced a new opera in hyper-reality, as well as staged productions of Handel’s Apollo and Daphne and Britten’s Phaedra.

Read more: Which pantomimes and ballets are cancelled this Christmas? >

Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House, Alex Beard, said: “We are delighted to present this bold, wide-ranging autumn programme highlighting the creativity and innovation that can come from adversity.

“It is vital for theatres across the UK and for our community of diverse artists, that we begin to bring our art forms safely back to our stages.”

Ticket details will be announced in due course.