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Your Reaction: The Nutcracker 2015

What did you think of The Royal Ballet's iconic Christmas production?

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

9 December 2015 at 1.00pm | 19 Comments

Press reviews:
The Stage ★★★★
Bachtrack ★★★★
Arts Desk ★★★★
A Younger Theatre (No star rating, positive)

What did you think of The Nutcracker?
Let us know via the comments below.

The Nutcracker runs until 14 January 2016. Returns may become available online, and 44 day tickets go on sale at 10am on the day of each performance.

The production will be broadcast live to cinemas around the world on 16 December 2015. Find your nearest cinema and sign up to our mailing list.

The production is supported by Van Cleef & Arpels and is given with generous philanthropic support from The Royal Opera House Endowment Fund.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

9 December 2015 at 1.00pm

This article has been categorised Ballet and tagged by Peter Wright, Production, review, Social Media, The Nutcracker, your reaction

This article has 19 comments

  1. Peter Vintner responded on 9 December 2015 at 4:55pm Reply

    Any chance of the live streamed performance on 16th being released as a DVD, at some future date?

    We in Italy are unable to see this performance. Instead we are being fobbed of by the Cinema company (Space Cinema) with the 2009 RB performance (marvellous as it is) advertised as part of the 2015/16 ROH programme.

    • Sarah Walsh (Cinema Account Coordinator) responded on 9 December 2015 at 5:11pm

      Dear Peter,

      Due to programming reasons some cinemas/distributors have indeed decided that screening the 2009 recorded version of The Nutcracker is more suitable for them than the live relay from the ROH on December 16th. There are no plans to release the performance next week on DVD, I'm afraid, but I sincerely hope that you enjoy the pre-recorded edition.

      Kind regards,


  2. Kevin responded on 11 December 2015 at 10:01pm Reply

    er...the world has moved on. We no longer have dancers/actors/singers blacking up (Petrushka, Otello, those awful picannny children during Golden Idol). Can we get rid of that blonde hair for the Sugar Plum Fairy and Hans-Peter? Please?? Pretty please???

  3. Watched Act 1 in Vue cinema Staines
    Thought Darcy & co looked very dark
    Sound ok but picture remained dark and did not fill screen
    So dark could not see colours of costumes..could hardly see mice at all
    Thought it was a special lighting effect but remained dark to Act end Snowflakes and snow were blue
    Complained to cine staff in interval but they said it was on a second screen and just as bad. They blamed what are we paying for?
    Came home and watched on dvd..much better picture

    • Elaine responded on 16 December 2015 at 10:54pm

      This was a technical fault of your cinema surely. Our experience was excellent. Nothing wrong with the colour or lighting.

    • Sarah Walsh (Cinema Account Coordinator) responded on 17 December 2015 at 3:08pm

      Dear John,

      I'm very sorry about this. Please be assured that the live stream did not go out this way from the ROH. It sounds to me like a projector fault but I'll check in with Vue and confirm what happened.

      Kind regards,


  4. Elaine responded on 16 December 2015 at 11:23pm Reply

    I was so thrilled to see Lauren and Nehemiah did a wonderful stand-in. Alexander was brilliant as ever but I always want more as he is just wonderful. Francesca was so confident and such a pleasure to watch. Just beautiful and my six year old was entranced throughout. What an enchanting Drosselmeyer by Gary Avis.

    I have one particular gripe about the filming. Modern camera work is all about the close-up and I find this very trying for stage. The cameras choose where the audience should look and as well as finding it slightly presumptuous it really irritates me when I want to see all the details and get a bigger picture. Additionally the clarity of film now is such that a close-up gives us too much and spoils the illusion. It's hard to enjoy the dancing fully when you can't avoid looking at the stage make-up, prosthetics, snippets of communication and occasional nervous expressions because they are so close. It seems to me a an artistic flaw when filming ballet and ill-judged by camerapersons who are used to working for telly. I would really appreciate this being passed on as serious feedback and would love to know if it is something you would consider improving. Thanks.

    • Sarah Walsh (Cinema Account Coordinator) responded on 17 December 2015 at 2:59pm

      Dear Elaine,

      Thank you very much for your feedback. As I'm sure you can imagine, before a live relay, a lot of planning and preparation goes in to the camerawork but I will definitely pass on your comments to the production team here.

      Kind regards,


    • Jakegee responded on 17 December 2015 at 6:39pm

      Hi Elaine! I have to disagree on the close-ups. I usually try to see the live performance at the ROH before watching the live cinema relay, so that I then benefit from seeing the wonderful acting abilities of our Royal Ballet dancers as well as their superlative dance technique. Yes, I am fortunate to be able to do this, but I travel all the way from Scotland to do so! The director of those cinema relays, Ross McGibbon, is the very respected director of the Royal Ballet DVDs, and is a very sound judge of which scenes or 'snippets' to show us in close detail. We benefit from his judgement and expertise.

  5. Sara weigh responded on 17 December 2015 at 1:31am Reply

    I really enjoyed the live cinema stream of Nutcracker however it would have been good if the option of buying a programme for the performance would have been available, although thanks for digital copy.

  6. Michaela responded on 17 December 2015 at 8:28am Reply

    Agree totally with all comments about lighting. Very disappointed as couldn't see dancers properly a lot of the time. Live screening in 2013 was superb and sublime. Both at Eastbourne cinema: what happened?

    • Sarah Walsh (Cinema Account Coordinator) responded on 17 December 2015 at 2:53pm

      Dear Michaela,

      It is true that some of the scenes in The Nutcracker are darker than others but that shouldn't have impacted on your ability to see the dancers at any time. I will contact the cinema to find out if they had an issue with their equipment last night.

      Kind regards,


  7. Veronica Sharpe responded on 17 December 2015 at 1:56pm Reply

    Thoroughly enjoyed the production. Can't believe it was 30 years since mounted. A sell out cinema in Paignton watched enthralled. Let's just enjoy the dancing and not worry about wigs and other minor points.

  8. Mavornae responded on 21 December 2015 at 12:27am Reply

    Watched from my local cinema in BC, Canada. Simply a magical time. Kudos, to ALL the cast and crew(s)...and a Happy Merry Christmas to you and yours. Just loved it!! Beautiful! I teared up during some of the songs and performances...I love the Arts. ThankYou

  9. In the dark ages of televised broadcasts of Royal Ballet performances the stage lighting was adjusted by the addition of extra lighting in the lower slips. The theatre audience was warned that their experience was going to be affected by the additional lighting but the resulting performance looked good on screen and good on video. if you look at comments about DVDs issued after some of your cinema screenings you will find that there are often complaints about lighting levels. The Winter's Tale DVD is a case in point.

    As far as the choice of camera shots is concerned I think your camera men go in for tricksy shots when in the past those in charge of the cameras would have been content with shots which gave a view of the stage action which was more representative of the action of the ballet. I think that those involved in filming Bolshoi and Mariinsky performances are more sympathetic to the needs of a ballet audience and work on the assumption that the audience for the screening is just as interested in seeing the whole dancer, face, hands and feet, in motion as the theatre audience.Close ups rarely intrude on the audience's enjoyment of the dance in their choice of shots. In yours they often seem to be selected when most dance lovers, if they were being selective,would be looking at the dancer's feet. Given a passage of brilliant footwork your camera man is more likely to give us a quick look at a couple of dancers in the corps who are doing nothing than to show us the da legs and feet of the artist who is dancing. That certainly happened in the last Fille you screened,

    I have no doubt that you would say that the Cinderella from the late 1960's and the Collier, Coleman Fille are far too old fashioned for today's audience.You might even say that they were merely films of a stage performance but surely that is what your screened performances are supposed to be. Are not they supposed to be an opportunity for people who can not see the Royal Ballet in its home theatre to watch performances which they would not otherwise have access to? I assume that they are meant to be an opportunity for those interested in ballet to enjoy the company's repertory and dancers. Unfortunately some of those involved in them appear to think that simply filming the dancing and the action of the ballet really well is not interesting enough.

    I expect that you will say that you do not get many people complaining about the choice of shots. But I think that many people say nothing because they think that there is no point in doing so. I have no doubt that there is a lot of work involved in getting a performance onto cinema screens but more thought needs to be given to basic matters such as the level of lighting required to make a filmed performance visible and curbing intrusive and distracting camera work.

  10. IAN WYLIE responded on 26 December 2015 at 11:14am Reply

    Magnificent beyond words. Moved to tears by the utter perfection of the whole thing. Perhaps on the ROH can create such a sublime evening

  11. janet responded on 27 December 2015 at 3:20pm Reply

    It's was magical and breathtaking like you were there .My ten year old daughter was enchanted and now wants too see more ballets .

  12. L.Coimbra responded on 28 December 2015 at 1:45pm Reply

    I did not enjoy the live screening of the Royal Opera House Nutcracker. In my opinion it was filmed too up closely. When we go to the theater we usually don´t see the drops of sweat on the dancer's forehead, or the ballerina's bra, nor the split second someone “drops” the smile and makes a face of effort.

    I also do think that the intention of Lev Ivanov was for the audience to experience the stage movement as a whole and not bits of the ensembles, seeing all the Snow Flakes moving on the stage together is much better than watching smaller groups one by one.

    The maestro is also a bit disappointing, some musical parts (Pas de Deux Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier) are so quick that the dancers miss some of the pas and I am sure it’s not their fault because they excel.

  13. Robin Smith responded on 31 December 2015 at 11:43pm Reply

    Fumi Kaneko a quite superb Sugar Plum Fairy (December 31st 12.00) this afternoon - totally assured, living every moment and very glamourous.

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