The Nutcracker

Under the expert direction of Marina Medvetskaya, Saint Petersburg Classic Ballet combines classical training and technique with the best-loved Russian ballets, outstanding soloists and full orchestra, to entertain audiences in breath-taking style.

Tchaikovsky’s enchanting score for The Nutcracker is brought to life in a delightfully festive production, as Clara is whisked away on a magical adventure by her Nutcracker Prince.

A Christmas party in the home of Clara and Fritz is where our story begins. Greeting guests and exchanging gifts under the Christmas tree on the eve of Christmas. Drosselmeier, a mysterious character, arrives with a gift for the children and entertains the party with his magic and clockwork doll. A wooden nutcracker is the gift of choice Drosselmeier has brought for Clara but in a fit of jealously her brother Fritz breaks the doll, pulling off its head. Luckily Drosselmeier repairs the toy, comforting Clara who accepts the nutcracker back with a hug. Clara says goodnight to the nutcracker now the party has ended and goes to sleep, then starts a magical and enchanting dream. Clara wakes to be frightened by her Christmas trees getting larger and larger and a troupe of rats led by King Rat. The rats try to attack Clara but thankfully she is protected by an army of toy soldiers led by her very own life-size nutcracker. After the fight, the nutcracker turns into a handsome prince with Clara by his side as a beautiful princess. With snow falling, Clara and her nutcracker prince begin their journey into the magical land. Greeted by the sugar plum fairy Clara and the prince arrive in the land of sweets. Entertained by Spanish, Russian, Eastern and Chinese dancers. A feast for the eyes. Clara and the nutcracker enjoy the festivities before they end and Clara again falls to sleep. Awaking, Clara finds everything has returned to normal with her nutcracker returned to doll size.

I watched the show on opening night and can honestly say I’ve never been so mesmerised by a show before. Having never seen a ballet I didn’t know what to expect but the Saint Petersburg Classic Ballet Company really brought an amazing performance with not one error or fault that I could find. With music from the Hungarian Sinfonietta Orchestra conducted by Guntars Bernats bringing the show alive with the beautiful sounds of the Orchestra.

With Arabesques and Pirouette to die for, the whole production has outdone themselves with this beautiful production. Yulia Yashina, in particular, was a firm favourite for me. Playing both parts of Clara and the Sugar Plum Fairy. In each role she executed each move perfectly and delicately, gliding along the stage like a dream. From pointe to fingertip Yulia looked elegant and beautiful. A true ballerina.

One of my favourite scenes would have to be when the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Nutcracker Prince and the four male ensembles all dance together. Performing not only perfect dancing but breathtaking lifts and jumps. Exciting to watch but beautiful too. With perfect timing to the music, it was a feast for the eyes. It left not only me but many people around me with their mouth wide open in utter awe and admiration.

Many beautiful costumes throughout the production, with each distinct costumes helping you figure out who was who, for example, with the Spanish, Chinese, Eastern and Russian you could instantly recognise where the character were from. The Sugar Plum Fairy is another great mention with each sparkle and gem catching the lights as Yulia span and leapt. With the opening scene of the Christmas party and all its guest, a lot of the characters were in period dresses and suits with wigs to match. Beautiful for us to look at yes, with the dresses like ball gowns but I expect very hard to dance in. But the cast made it look effortless, never missing a beat or mark. 

The sets had many elements to them, each scene changing to add to the story. Beautifully painted backdrops helping you to feel you were there with the family at the Christmas party or at the battle of toy soldiers and rats. The growing Christmas tree was amazing to watch, adding to the changing feeling of normally to magical dream. Not only where the sets beautiful to look at but they were amazing to get involved with also, I never thought I would see snow raining down from the inside of the Lyceum theatre on to the audience but the Nutcracker made it possible. 

The Nutcracker is at the Lyceum Theatre until 11th of January. You can buy tickets for the here.

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