what’s On Over christ­mas

Marvel at the Royal Bal­let from the Royal Opera House – or your lo­cal cinema – this fes­tive sea­son

The Field - - Young In The Field -

IF you ever have the chance, seize upon an in­vi­ta­tion to spend an evening in the Royal

Box, with its pri­vate cham­ber and plush loo, at Covent Gar­den. Bet­ter still, do it just be­fore Christ­mas and catch The Nutcracker, and pray for a back­stage tour. The in­evitable and te­dious smutty jokes from your fel­low pretenders about sit­ting on Her Majesty’s throne can be eas­ily ig­nored, and one can wal­low in the sheer sump­tu­ous glory of the set­ting and marvel at the dis­play of gra­cious ath­leti­cism – while get­ting slowly soz­zled all the while. At the time, I was told it was a once-in-a-life­time ex­pe­ri­ence, and it was truly un­for­get­table: from the Tardis-like cav­erns where the sets are wheeled around, to the re­hearsal stu­dios, to the ex­quis­ite models fash­ioned for each per­for­mance, the de­gree of co­or­di­na­tion re­quired ri­vals that of any pirou­et­ting prima donna. I was then in­vited a sec­ond time, a fort­night later, played dumb and en­joyed it just as much, so feel unusu­ally well-placed to rec­om­mend it. But there is, of course, much else on of­fer at the Royal Bal­let be­yond the joy­ous fes­tive con­trivance of the story of a young girl, her beastly brother and a host of danc­ing rats and fairies. And even if you’re not in the Royal Box, I’m guess­ing it will pass muster.

8-30 Oc­to­ber: May­er­ling

Ken­neth Macmil­lan’s bal­let about the ap­par­ent mur­der-sui­cide of Ru­dolf, Crown Prince of Aus­tria, and his lover, Baroness Mary Vet­sera, in 1889, di­vided crit­ics when first per­formed in 1978, but prom­ises sex,

se­crets and pol­i­tics – all in tights.

1-17 novem­ber: la bayadere

This 19th-cen­tury clas­si­cal bal­let was orig­i­nally chore­ographed by Mar­ius Pepita and per­formed by the Bol­shoi in 1877. Natalia Makarova’s redacted 1980 pro­duc­tion was the first to find a niche in west­ern bal­let com­pa­nies’ reper­toires.

Tem­ple dancers and noble war­riors.

20-29 novem­ber: the Un­known Soldier/in­fra/sym­phony in c

A world pre­miere by Alas­tair Mar­riott of two con­trast­ing bal­lets by Wayne Mc­gre­gor and Ge­orge Balan­chine. Per­haps one for the

diehard bal­let buff.

3 de­cem­ber-15 Jan­uary:

the nutcracker

Tchaikovsky’s Christ­mas clas­sic will get you in the fes­tive spirit faster than a sweet sherry on Santa’s lap; some per­for­mances will fea­ture Ar­gen­tine Royal Bal­let prin­ci­pal Mar­i­anela Nuñez. When it was screened in cin­e­mas last year, 145,000 peo­ple watched. O’hare says that it re­mains ab­sorb­ing: “The tra­di­tional clas­sics al­ways have some­thing

fresh to of­fer through the in­di­vid­ual in­ter­pre­ta­tions of the dancers, which is

what makes live theatre so ex­cit­ing.”

9 de­cem­ber

In case you’ve gone full Scrooge, there’s the an­nual Christ­mas Carols Sin­ga­long in the mag­nif­i­cent Paul Ham­lyn Hall to get you in the fes­tive spirit. Mulled wine, mince pies and per­haps the only op­por­tu­nity most of us

will ever have to sing at the ROH.

18 de­cem­ber-4 Jan­uary: les patineurs/win­ter dreams/

the con­cert

This sea­sonal trio of one-act bal­lets by Fred­er­ick Ashton, Ken­neth Macmil­lan and Jerome Rob­bins re­spec­tively, will be “joy­ous then in­tense, se­ri­ous then com­i­cally ab­surd”.

For de­tails of the ROH’S up­com­ing Live Cinema Sea­son – and to find a cinema near you stream­ing the per­for­mances – go to:

www.roh.org.uk/cin­e­mas

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