After an afternoon of stuffing ourselves with chocolate and struggling to wade through the throbbing crowds converging on the festively decorated market stalls, we eventually waddled into the fabulously grand theatre, to be met by a hoard of excited children and an array of all things Nutcracker-related.
The great Floral Hall had been transformed into a Nutcracker exhibition where guests (mainly children and a few over-enthusiastic adults including ourselves) could try on costumes, meet the make-up artists, don the wigs and even wield some of the weapons used in productions.
My sister and I got a little carried away in the weapons department and demanded that the poor weapons master take several pictures of us brandishing the swords used in Romeo and Juliet.
The whole performance was filmed for the Live Cinema Relay ; a selection of the world’s best operas and ballets from the Royal Opera House screened live in cinemas across the UK. The ballet itself was absolutely enchanting and the audience was mesmerised by the pure beauty of the choreography and captivated by Tchaikovsky’s glittering music. After casting two critical eyes, even my mother (a ballet teacher and former Royal Ballet dancer) found the performance to be flawless, which in itself was an astounding feat!
The set design was breathtaking and during the interval, the curtains were left open so that the audience could catch a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes and how the stage technicians work their magic. It was fascinating to watch.
The audience were on their feet when the production finished and it seemed as if, for a few hours at least, all memory of the cold outside world had been forgotten and the true spirit of Christmas could be seen in all the glowing happy faces in the auditorium.
A truly magical Christmas treat.
The Nutcracker ballet will be showing at cinemas from Thursday 13th December. For more pictures of our magical night take a look at my instagram page @ebotziou.