26 October 2011 at 1.25pm | 20 Comments
Readers who have never been to a performance at the Royal Opera House, for whatever reason, will be able to see The Royal Ballet perform The Nutcracker on Saturday 8 December from as little as £5 up to only £19.50 per person for the best seats in the house, and there will be a series of fun activities for all ages throughout the building prior to the performance.
Thanks to the Paul Hamlyn Christmas Treats and The Sun, thousands of people who had not previously been to a performance at the Royal Opera House have been able to enjoy opera and ballet at the famous Covent Garden theatre, with many returning again and again – it is time you joined in too.
The Nutcracker – what is it all about?
From the very first notes of Tchaikovsky’s overture of 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.
Visit The Nutcracker production page for more details
Fun stuff before the performance
Before the performance from 4.30pm, ticket holders will be able to explore stalls in the Paul Hamlyn Hall which give an insight into what some of our backstage departments do. Find out how costumes are made, watch a make-up demonstration or talk to our model room about how the designer’s ideas are turned into reality on stage.
Want to make a souvenir to take away with you? In the Paul Hamlyn Hall we will have a professional designer and mountains of materials for families to get their hands dirty making something related to The Nutcracker.
Fancy trying on a costume? Our Crush Room will feature a range of amazing, authentic costumes from both opera and ballet productions. Try something on with your children and take photographs as a memento.
Are you a budding musician? We’ll have professionals on-hand throughout the open "Fun Stuff" sessions who will let you have a go on one of their instruments, and will show you how they sound and how they are played.
These activities are free and will happen throughout the late afternoon before the performance begins at 7pm. Arrive early to make sure you can take advantage of them all!
What do I do now?
Simply register and you will be entered into a lottery for a chance to buy a ticket priced between £5 and £19.50. We will contact you in good time either by post or email to let you know when you can book.
Some important dates
Please be aware that registration for the Paul Hamlyn Christmas Treat ends on Wednesday 14 November
Booking will open on Thursday 22 November – if you are successful in the ballot we will contact you in good time to let you know how to book.
The Performance of The Nutcracker is on Saturday 8 December at 7pm (doors open at 4.30pm for pre-performance activities).
Some other useful information
How do I get to the Royal Opera House? What do I wear? How will I find my seat? What happens if I am late?
These and many other questions are answered here.
Food and Drink at the Royal Opera House
Royal Opera House Restaurants offer a selection of menus in our bars and restaurants throughout the House and there is something for everyone to choose from. We have children’s menus in each area so that the whole family can fully enjoy the experience.
Our a la carte Amphitheatre Restaurant has seasonal favourites, including warming soups and winter tarts.
The Amphitheatre Bar and Paul Hamlyn Bar will both be serving a selection of drinks and lighter snacks such as sandwiches and delicious platters ideal for sharing.
The Paul Hamlyn Hall Balconies Restaurant will be serving modern British food in an elegant setting. In this restaurant guests are kindly asked to pre order their meal in advance.
We recommend pre ordering your food in all of our bars and restaurants in order for you and your guests to have a seamless experience. The bars and Amphitheatre Restaurant will also take bookings on the evening itself so you won’t miss out.
For more details and to make a booking online please visit our restaurants and bars pages. Alternatively please call the team on +44 (0) 20 7212 9254
The performance is recommended for children over five years old who are very welcome. They will require their own ticket next to the accompanying adults. Babies and infants unfortunately will not be admitted into the auditorium, this is to enable a good experience for all those attending, including parents and carers!
The Paul Hamlyn Christmas Treat is generously supported by The Helen Hamlyn Trust, in memory of the late Paul Hamlyn, with the association of The Sun newspaper.
Find out more information on The Helen Hamlyn Trust
Terms and Conditions
Please take a moment to read the terms and conditions below.
You must register by 14 November 2012 for your chance to buy up to 6 tickets for this performance.
Please note: You will be entered into a lottery and informed by 21 November 2012 whether you have been successful.
Booking is available from 22 November 2012.
View full terms and conditions here