From the very first notes of Tchaikovsky’s overture to The Nutcracker, a sense of mystery and magic pervades the theatre as Herr Drosselmeyer sets in train the events that will see his beloved nephew, Hans Peter, freed from the enchantment of the evil Mouse King by the resourceful Clara.
The Nutcracker unfolds over two glorious acts. For Act I it is Christmas Eve and we are brought to a party at which Drosselmeyer gives young Clara a nutcracker doll – beginning a night that includes a magically growing Christmas tree, a midnight battle of toy soldiers at which the Nutcracker defeats the villainous Mouse King and his army of mice, and a headlong pas de deux in which Clara and Hans Peter meet and celebrate their triumph before being enveloped in a magical snowstorm. Act II whisks the young pair off to the Kingdom of the Sweets, where they are entertained by the Sugar Plum Fairy with her handsome Prince and her glittering court in a series of dazzling dances.
Peter Wright’s classic production, first seen at Covent Garden in 1984, is an essential part of Christmas for audiences of all ages.