21 October 2013 at 8.00am | Comment on this article
People who have never been to a performance at the Royal Opera House will be able to see The Royal Ballet perform The Nutcracker on Saturday 14 December at 1.30pm from as little as £1. Other seats are are available for £5 and £9.50 with the best seats in the house only £19.50 per person. 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, 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 10.30am, 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 and watch demonstrations.
Want to make a souvenir to take away with you? Join us to create your very own Nutcracker themed Christmas decoration. Up in the Amphitheatre Restaurant we will have a professional designer and mountains of materials for families to get their hands dirty making something related to The Nutcracker, even the chance to design your own Land of Sweets set!
Find out about tutus and pointe shoes in the Paul Hamlyn Hall in two special demonstrations - there is far more to them than meets the eye!
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.
And generally relax to the sounds of our live band and enjoy these free activities throughout the morning and lunchtime before the performance begins at 1.30pm. Arrive early to make sure you can take advantage of them all!
Some important dates
The Performance of The Nutcracker is on Saturday 14 December at 1.30pm (doors open at 10.30am for pre-performance activities).
Want to brush up on The Nutcracker in advance?
There is a Beginners Guide to The Nutcracker event on 17 November at 2pm. Tickets are only £5 - so if you want to be fully prepared to make the most of the performance why not pop along. Please be aware there is limited availability and booking is first come first served.
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.
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 day itself so you won’t miss out.
We are also offering pre-ordered lunch boxes for this event, an adult one priced at £5.95 and a children’s one for £4.94, which have a drink, sandwich, tasty treat, piece of fruit and a packet of crisps in each. Please call the number below to order your lunch box in advance.
For more details or 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.
Find out more information about The Helen Hamlyn Trust.