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Your reaction: The Nutcracker in cinemas

What did you think of The Royal Ballet's Christmas production on the silver screen?

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

12 December 2013 at 10.00pm | 78 Comments

What did you think of The Nutcracker in cinemas?

Our next live cinema relay will be The Royal Opera's Parsifal on 18 December. Find your nearest cinema and sign up for our cinema newsletter.

The production is staged with generous philanthropic support from Lady Jarvis and The Royal Opera House Endowment Fund.

The Royal Opera House Cinema Season is supported by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

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

12 December 2013 at 10.00pm

This article has been categorised Ballet and tagged cinema, Film, movies, reaction, review, Social Media, The Nutcracker, twitter

This article has 78 comments

  1. Nickolas responded on 12 December 2013 at 10:28pm Reply

    Just watched it in Berlin. Great show. Loved the Russian Dance,as always. And the Grand Pas De Deux was spectacular. Bravo Darcey Bussell too! Was pleased to see you as the presenter.

  2. maria responded on 12 December 2013 at 10:36pm Reply

    Superb performances. Magical production.

  3. Anne-Marie Dufranne responded on 12 December 2013 at 10:46pm Reply

    I watched the ballet in cinema Imagix in Mons- Belgium.
    It was the first time that I saw the nutcracker. It is just
    magical, beautiful, unbelievable.
    Thank you for giving such pleasure to ordinary people.

  4. Deborah Selwood responded on 12 December 2013 at 10:47pm Reply

    Absolutely sublime! Very well done to everyone involved in such a phenomenal and magical production.

  5. Michaela responded on 12 December 2013 at 10:48pm Reply

    Loved every minute of it. Absolutely sublime. Perfection from start to finish. Great to have Darcey's commentary and a chance to go behind the scenes.Will now book other screenings.
    Thank you!

  6. Kathy Evans responded on 12 December 2013 at 11:13pm Reply

    So many wonderful performances in the Land of Sweets, it would be great to see the full cast list, eg the Russian dancers hidden behind their beards

  7. Michela Battaglino responded on 12 December 2013 at 11:55pm Reply

    An extraordinary performance. My first ballet experience makes this day the most wonderful in my life. I'd like to thank all of you for these emotions!

  8. christophe responded on 13 December 2013 at 7:47am Reply


    I loved Nutcracker, i saw it for the first time here in Bern, Switzerland, in a cinema. My daughter was amazed. Thank you very much.

  9. serena responded on 13 December 2013 at 7:58am Reply

    From Martina Franca, Italia!!!! Spectacular!!!! Great!!!! Kiss From Serena

  10. Annie Gwyn responded on 13 December 2013 at 8:14am Reply

    What a spectacular and joyful experience I had watching the Nutcracker live from The Royal Opera House. I shall certainly be following the rest of the season of cinema showings. This has make top class ballet very accessible to the majority. I LOVE it!

  11. pascale responded on 13 December 2013 at 8:27am Reply

    Fantastic, like in a dream. Lara and I saw it yesterday we both enjoyed this beautiful ballet. We will come back.
    PS: we are In France in Guérande.

  12. lyn costall responded on 13 December 2013 at 8:29am Reply

    fabulous, so stunning, breath taking

  13. Ffiona Brace responded on 13 December 2013 at 9:25am Reply

    How wonderful to watch the Royal Ballet in our local theatre. Mesmerisingly beautiful and moving. The start of my Christmas! Thank you to all.

  14. John Hirst responded on 13 December 2013 at 9:50am Reply

    only one word to describe it ...........Superb

  15. marion hunt responded on 13 December 2013 at 9:51am Reply

    Banbury film - Morera - sheer perfection - magical!
    More please.

  16. John Graham responded on 13 December 2013 at 10:41am Reply

    Exceptional performances all round! Laura Morera and Federico Bonelli were astounding, as indeed were Francesca Hayward as Clara and her young 'Nutcracker', whose name I don't unfortunately know!! This is a major complaint ..... I cannot find his name on the cast list for last night's performance, which now appears to have gone from the website. At Carlisle Vue cinema, they had no printed cast lists to hand out, and I'm afraid I found, sadly, that Darcey's muttered acknowledgements during the curtain calls were both intrusive and superfluous, since they could not be heard clearly! Can you name last night's "Nutcracker" here, please?
    Francesca's Clara made me think of Gilbert & Sullivan! .... "Take a pair of sparkling eyes..." .... not only was her dancing inspiring, but her acting was equally commendable. A great future ahead! Likewise for young Hans-Peter - so youthful and energetic throughout, and I especially loved his dance with the Russian Duo! As always, Rioichi Hirano was also notable, and Gary Avis as Drosselmeyer? - NOBODY does it better!!
    It was amazing to see a packed cinema in Carlisle, all applauding this great performance, but please do let us know who our dancers are. I visit ROH frequently and know most of the dancers, so I find it annoying not to be given a cast list, since many are not in my privileged position of being able to travel to London to see live performances.

    • Lottie Butler (Former Assistant Content Producer (News and Social Media)) responded on 13 December 2013 at 2:12pm

      Hi John,

      Apologies for the lack of cast lists. We have now uploaded cast sheets for the performance last night onto the cinema section of website. You can download them from here:

      All the best,


    • Last night's Nutcracker/Hans-Peter was Alexander Campbell. For me, he was the star of the show; I couldn't keep my eyes off him. His dancing seemed effortless yet always thrilling and his acting was so tender and sensitive, especially in the scene after he is woken by Clara.

    • Zoe responded on 17 December 2013 at 1:30pm

      I'd love to know who the arabian dancers were. Her form was stunning. Amazing physique. Beautiful, sparkling performances all round. My daughter's first experience of the ballet. Lovely to start to Christmas.

  17. Benno van der Wilk responded on 13 December 2013 at 10:42am Reply

    Really nice show, beautiful costumes, good dancing acts. Not in a really busy cinema in Vlaardingen, Netherlands, but was really a beautiful show!

  18. Yiannos Contrafouris responded on 13 December 2013 at 10:56am Reply

    IT WAS A BRILLIANT EXPERIENCE!! The 'connection' across the world felt real - the twitter comments showcased the best use of social media. The spectacle was of the highest calibre as usual - but it was not simply that this was the Royal Ballet we have come to love, this was the Royal Ballet reaching out, realising its true global impact and potential! Cannot wait for Giselle!!!

    all the best from Athens

  19. Roy Sargent responded on 13 December 2013 at 11:00am Reply

    A wonderful opportunity to see/hear first class ballet as it happens, but at an affordable price. However, to everyone who is able you must make the effort to attend a live performance; cinema does not compare with actually being there.

  20. Frankbyname responded on 13 December 2013 at 11:02am Reply

    Cast, Costume, Scenery, Production all Marvellous …. Camera Work could do better. Too many close ups denying viewers the spectacle of the whole set and dancers on the periphery. Going to a close up before the Christmas Tree had completely “grown”, close ups on at least two occasions when suddenly other dancers pass between the principals in that scene and the camera. Close ups that follow dancers from the waist up denying the viewers the footwork. Personally I think one camera showing the whole stage would give us the view that the Opera house audience has and thus make it more as though we are there.

  21. Maureen mill responded on 13 December 2013 at 11:04am Reply

    Absolutely loved it. Want more. Would just comment that I would prefer less close ups and more 'full stage'' viewing.

  22. Bill Scott responded on 13 December 2013 at 11:13am Reply

    What a fantastic oppertunity to watch Royal Ballet's Nutcracker at a cinema in Dundee, feel completely overdosed on enchantment, whoever dreaned up the idea thankyou so much. Already looking forward to Giselle.

  23. Debbie Webb responded on 13 December 2013 at 11:16am Reply

    We watched from our local cinema. It was just as magical. A very special ballet with the most amazing dancers. Thank you x

  24. Ann Martin responded on 13 December 2013 at 11:30am Reply

    Omg!! A mazzzzing. Wanted to watch it over and over again.
    Thank you for bringing it local. Keep it up please.

  25. Ann Martin responded on 13 December 2013 at 11:39am Reply

    Wonderful evening out. So grateful for bringing it to our local cinema thank you.
    Everything about the production was amazing.

  26. Elizabeth Clark responded on 13 December 2013 at 12:29pm Reply

    We were transported to another world while watching The Nutcracker yesterday evening in the cinema in Clydebank, Glasgow. It was wonderful - the scenery, set changes and costumes superb. Only wish Darcey Bussell had spoken a bit louder as I found it very difficult to make out all she said which was a pity as it was so interesting to see back stage some of the work that has to be done to present such a performance

  27. Our audience in the village of Dedham, were thrilled and delighted with our first Live broadcast from ROH. A great start to the Christmas season, and a must event for our future Dedham Films "LIVE" calendar. Thank you ROH.

  28. Ivor responded on 13 December 2013 at 1:28pm Reply

    Quite disappointed with the Act One live coverage of the Nutcracker. Far too many individual waist up close ups especially in the Stahlbaum's Living room, during the Christmas Tree transformation scene, the mouse battle and The Land of the Snow. In these scenes you really need to see the whole stage to take in the magical spectacle of Act One of this ballet and thank goodness I had already seen this production on stage before seeing this live relay. The filming of Act two was a little better and really more suitable for the close up treatment. ROH Live broadcast production really need to do better when filming ballet. After this effort I am seriously reconsidering ever seeing another ROH live ballet on screen. After saying all this I do have to say the whole RB company dancers and ROH stage production of the Nutcracker was as usual excellent. Especially the superb dancing and stage presence of Alexander Campbell as Hans- Peter and Francesca Hayward as Clara.

    • Karen responded on 15 December 2013 at 3:43pm

      So agree. Although I'm lucky enough to be able to get to ROH for ballet (subject to ahem, budget) this was probably my first and last cinema experience. The frustration with the dance illiteracy of the camera work - the impact of the tree gone, the cutaways at crucial moments esp in Act 1 but also Act 2) which I thought might be reduced as it was live were still all too present.
      Also very odd to have no applause either at the end of solos or at curtain call, just the ever present munch of popcorn.
      Out of an excellent cast, Campbell is excellent and I dare say we will be seeing much more in the future.
      I personally think there could be better presenting and use of interval/pre-show time, though not the real problem with this kind of event.

  29. Dimitris Gkildakis responded on 13 December 2013 at 1:31pm Reply

    First ballet experience and what a better way to start with the Nutcracker! Also, first ballet live transmission in CORFU Greece! I waited for soooo long... Loved the show and the fact it still looks fresh after so many years! Clara was adorable! I wish I was part of the production. Happy X-mas to everyone!

  30. Jeremy responded on 13 December 2013 at 1:36pm Reply

    A truly magical experience. I felt sorry for those watching it live at the ROH as they won't have seen the subtle facial expressions that we saw, viewing from afar at the cinema.

    Darcey also made it more special and her enthusiasm for what she loves is infectious.

    Would love to see more.....

  31. Raymond Sch. responded on 13 December 2013 at 1:59pm Reply

    Really fabulous.Have seen in Dudelange on screen.Dudelange is in the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg.All the actors were more than wonderful.Thank for this representation.

  32. Having seen the live production in Covent garden of Romeo and Juliet, I was interested to see how watching a production from a cinema compared to the live format.
    Of course - it helps to have been there and experienced a live production in the theatre, but the cinema live version was truly awesome. The camera work offered a perfect balance of close crop action and full stage landscapes, the lead-ins and background filming with Darcy offered a wonderful insight that raised the expectation and excitement and to top it all off the stage production, music and dancers were all superb and exceeded expectations. To anyone who has not attended any of these events before I have some simple words of advice: Book for the next one now!!!!!

  33. P & G Greenaway responded on 13 December 2013 at 2:37pm Reply

    An absolutely wonderful performance, as all the others we have seen so far. Tell all trhe cast we all or nearly all, cannot help but applaud in concert with the 'live' ! audience. This is wonderful for we the older population to be able to enjoy these top quality performances in our own environs, looking forward to all the future transmissions, Thank you.

  34. Congratulations to all dancers involved.
    Laura Morera was amazing! Nice to see her Sugar Plum Fairy.Really strong technique, softness and grace.
    Bravo to Federico also, Italian pride!
    Greetings from Milan, Italy.

  35. Had a smile on my face throughout last night's wonderful Nutcracker. I agree with all comments about too many close ups, one of the worst being the growing Christmas tree in Act I - completely spoiled the effect. Do not feel sorry for people actually at the ROH - RB dancers can put the story and emotions across very well and the atmosphere is amazing. Plus you can applaud without feeling self-conscious as when sitting in a cinema audience that won't join in!

  36. Jan W responded on 13 December 2013 at 3:11pm Reply

    Our local cinema in Sidmouth,Devon was completely full.I thought the presentation that Darcey gave was really interesting and gave a good taste of the festive atmosphere at the ROH before the performance.We were really made to feel part of it out here in the sticks!
    It was lovely to be able to see the facial expressions of the dancers and the exquisite detailing on the costumes.
    Laura Morera was a perfect frosted Sugar Plum Fairy.Thank You.

  37. Linda responded on 13 December 2013 at 3:43pm Reply

    Watched the Nutcracker in our local cinema in Hyeres, south of France. Wonderful! Couldn't stop smiling. The more structured intro and interval pieces by Darcy were a really good idea, much more interesting and involving than what the Bolshoi do in their live broadcasts. I agree with the comments about the camera close ups; isn't ballet choreographed for being seen from the audience perspective & not in close up? Too many close ups meant you missed other action on stage, could not appreciate the full beauty of the whole scene (eg growing Christmas tree) and I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels a bit nauseous when the camera flies about so quickly! I love what the RoH is doing & will continue to go to (almost) all broadcasts. One question; how do the angels manage to glide about the stage so smoothly??

  38. Mary responded on 13 December 2013 at 3:53pm Reply

    My first ballet, and most certainly not my last. Loved the Nutcracker. Already looking forward to Giselle.

  39. Vieve Forward responded on 13 December 2013 at 4:23pm Reply

    Queues out of the door at Swindon, and on in the main auditorium - a complete contrast to last year. Annoying sweet rustling and popcorn eating though. Performance excellent on all counts. Thank God Gary got his coat on in time - that always has me on tenterhooks! The children were all fantastic. Agree far too many close-ups when you want to see feet as well at least, or complete scenes. It spoilt the magic a bit: it was never designed to be seen that close. Laura and Federico were majestic. Yuhui exquisite as ever - SO annoyed with Darcey for not knowing who she was (personally, I could have done without Darcey altogether). I loved watching Alexander Campbell: so young and fresh-looking. I'm coming to see it again on 20th at the RoH with a different cast: will MISS Gary Avis - for me, he IS Drosselmeyer! Am looking forward to Giselle and Sleeping Beauty next year.

  40. Saw last nights performance at the cinema in Hatfield UK, despite all the tinsel , I was spell bound by Hans-Peter , what elegance! I've never seen a man dance so beautifully, was Alexander Campbell made for the role?

  41. Annabel Gaskin responded on 13 December 2013 at 5:26pm Reply

    We watched the ballet in Leeds. It was mesmerising. I find it hard to describe my feelings as the whole experience was amazing. To be part of the experience taking place in London, learning from the commentary, seeing the backstage activities, was unique and beautifully handled and a sheer delight. Perhaps we had the best seats in the House!
    Thank you all for the excitement and joy you have given us. Christmas has begun with the Nutcracker again as in my London childhood.

  42. MARGARET COULTRUP responded on 13 December 2013 at 6:06pm Reply

    Went to see The Nutcracker @ Milton Keynes and just loved it,having previously been to the Opera House, it's as good as. Looking forward to all future performances.

  43. Sylvia and Jane responded on 13 December 2013 at 6:15pm Reply

    What a Magical Performance, thankyou from Parma Italy.

  44. P R Walker responded on 13 December 2013 at 6:29pm Reply

    Why no apology for the appalling sound?

    The Odeon, South Woodford were adamant that the problem was with your feed as it occurred in both of the adjacent screenings at this cinema.

    Somebody needs to get their act together!

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 16 December 2013 at 10:39am


      Sorry to hear about your Nutcracker experience. Sound problems would have been localized (the vast majority of cinemas experienced no sound issues). We offer and encourage all cinemas tests before all relays - it may be that the cinema in question didn't test beforehand. We'll be in contact with them to ensure this doesn't happen again.


      ROH Content Producer

    • Mark Thackeray responded on 17 December 2013 at 12:42pm


      Could you elaborate as to the problems you heard (for example - too loud/quiet, poor balance between speech & background during presenter sections, channels or bits of audio missing, poor orchestral balance, too bright or dull etc)? It would help us to find out where the problems were. We checked our sound in a cinema (Odeon in Covent Garden) over the satelite link earlier in the day and it was fine then, and we had no further reports of problems. We'll try and get hold of the cinema to find out what they are doing and if we can improve things, but any pointers you can give us would be most helpful.


      Mark Thackeray
      Broadcast Engineer, Royal Opera House

  45. R B Bean responded on 13 December 2013 at 8:15pm Reply

    Just magical! l Disappointed that the children were not included in the final curtain call. They were just as much part of the performance as any one else.

  46. marguerita derman responded on 13 December 2013 at 8:24pm Reply

    tour thru shoe factory especially interesting but why as fast as lightening? I hardly had time to focus.
    Is there a list of the 29 countries and when was it shown in US and Canada?

  47. Lesley responded on 13 December 2013 at 8:51pm Reply

    I loved the performance as a whole experience with one small reservation- the camera insisted on close ups and zooming in and out which made me sea sick. It also is not the way I want to view ballet, I want to see the whole stage. Following the male lead around the stage in his solo reduced my enjoyment df his performance as it was too close to get the overall effect of his leaps. Please pull the camera back for Giselle.

  48. Bob Swindle responded on 13 December 2013 at 9:06pm Reply

    Loved the performance but for future

    - the intro time was wasted. Too many trailers and adverts and not enough 'get the cinema audience to think they are at the opera house and getting a real feel of involvement'
    - I am sure it's difficult to set the camera shots up because it's such so wide stage but too many sudden switches from long distance to close up shots. At times it felt like an MTV music video.
    - you wasted the use of Darcy. Too much reading of the auto cue when she would have being working the audience. The interval Q&A was much too short and trivial. the musicIan interview added no value. Her voice over at the end was really useful but inaudible.

    But a brilliant production and can't wait for the next one


  49. Ian Mc Donald responded on 13 December 2013 at 9:27pm Reply

    St.Austell 12/12/13
    Truly magnificent! Lovely to see such a marvellous venue being used to its full potential with the lavish costumes and dramatic scene changes. A very skilful production and lovely to hear a full orchestra, too. Can't wait now for the Spring calendar.

  50. nicola responded on 13 December 2013 at 11:07pm Reply

    Went with my mom who is 83 we enjoyed every minute a christmas treat

  51. Siouxsie responded on 13 December 2013 at 11:18pm Reply

    I watched from The Empire, Tower Park, Poole and took my Mother as a complete surprise. It wasn't until we sat down and she saw the pre-performance screen that she knew what we were there to see.
    We were both totally mesmerised by the whole experience. We see The Nutcracker almost every Christmas somewhere, somehow. This year, we saw the Imperial Ice Stars' 'on ice' performance, which was lovely, so we felt doubly blessed to see the ROH screening too.
    We both agreed it was THE best performance ever. Totally loved it and can't wait to see Giselle and The Sleeping Beauty screenings early next year.

  52. Liana responded on 14 December 2013 at 3:58am Reply

    Awesome :o) we usually watch it in covent garden but this year we were in Malta so thought we'd give the cinema option a try. It was magical! Francesca's Clara was so beautifully presented. And I think Laura is a brilliant Sugar Plum Fairy. She drew the audience more than Nunez did last year, in my opinion. Gary Avis was his usual brilliant self....can't wait for the next show!

  53. Carolyn responded on 14 December 2013 at 8:07am Reply

    Saw it in Sindelfingen, South-West Germany and it was a perfect Pre-Christmas treat. Gary Avis in particular was an absolute delight - as were all concerned.
    A great pity that our local cinema and/or the ROH hadn't done more up-front marketing, as the performance wasn't very well attended.
    Looking forward to Giselle and Sleeping Beauty!
    Thank you!

  54. manon1753 responded on 14 December 2013 at 9:06am Reply

    Watched this at Cineworld, London. Lovely performance. Clara's grandfathr (the real one) sitting in the same row rightly proud of his granddaughter!! All the dancing delightful. The visual "programme notes", the answer to tweeted questions, are great and add a touch of something unique, unavailable in the Opera House. I still do miss the house's electric atmosphere and the possibility of joining in on the applause. So here it is, LOUD APPLAUSE and Thank You.
    A few niggles. Agree with some of the remarks re: camera work. For the second time, no cast list. And was it really necessary to describe identify Yuhui Choe (I believe it was her) as no more than a "first soloist"?! Come on, surely you can do better than that.

  55. IAN SKIPPER responded on 14 December 2013 at 10:05am Reply

    Francesca Hayward, brilliant, a star in the making. Have seen nutcracker more time than we can remember and we put Francesca's performance as one of the best if not the best we have ever seen. Look forward to seeing her rise through the ranks to principle in the not to distant future and therefor taking the lead in many more ballets.
    Ian & Ann Skipper
    Fontmell Magna

  56. Judith Carroll responded on 14 December 2013 at 11:54am Reply

    Saw this marvellous production at Guildford Odeon, where they had to open a second screen to accommodate everybody! I was sad that the Russian Dancers, Arabian Dancers, and the Dolls from Act 1 didn't feature in the cast sheet? We would like to know who was dancing these roles.
    Am looking forward to my live visit on 23rd! This cinema production brings so much joy to everybody. Thank you so much.

  57. Alison Odell responded on 14 December 2013 at 12:56pm Reply

    I've seen many Nutcracker ballets but this was fantastic especially Francesca who played Clara and Alexander (Hans Peter) I think she was the best Clara I have ever seen and the critics who whittle on about the footwork need to get over themselves!!
    Agree with the comments on camera work - at times there were too many close shots which in a cinema meant you missed the overall picture. Would be interested in a DVD of this as it was very special and I was the only one in my family able to go as children were doing exams :(

  58. L Beatty responded on 14 December 2013 at 5:38pm Reply

    It was a great shame that Darcey Bussell did not give us the names of the soloists at the end, especially the lovely Yehui - I was hoping that she would pronounce the name for us properly. I believe it is Yehooti ? Also, was that Melissa Hamilton in the Arabian Dance? .

  59. Lita steck responded on 14 December 2013 at 6:35pm Reply

    my family enjoyed so much it was maze Ballet ,we saw in Epsom ,I wish you all the best to you and the the Royal and wish you all marry Christmas and New Year for 2014 ,

  60. J W Shrigley - Penna responded on 16 December 2013 at 3:13pm Reply

    Everything was magnificent< the Dancing the Filming
    and the costumes all were excellent, and to make it all more magical for me,(84 y.o.) I was accompanied by a neighbours 12 year old daughter, and she was absolutely entranced, to the extent that she completely forgot about the chocolates I had brought for her, Keep up the good work. John

  61. J. Chou responded on 18 December 2013 at 7:24am Reply

    Watched it in Dublin, California. Seeing the Nutcracker is our annual family tradition. My wife and I agreed that this was the best production so far. Everything was superb! Any chance this performance will be on a 3D Blu-Ray? I think it merits repeat viewing..

  62. Barbara responded on 18 December 2013 at 4:21pm Reply

    The music was lovely, the costuming and sets were outstanding, and the dancers - oh, my - they were absolutely wonderful, and, it appeared to me, flawless! It was all so real it felt like being there, although we were watching and listening from west Texas! Loved every minute!

  63. Antonia responded on 18 December 2013 at 8:47pm Reply

    Saw this with a group of 25 friends in West Lafayette, Indiana. We're VERY grateful indeed that these screenings are now being made available to movie theaters in small towns in the U.S. just a few days after the live transmission. Glorious performance (I've seen Peter Wright's lovely production several times in London with various casts so I was able to recommend it heartily to friends/colleagues here). We all loved the sensitive and expressive and exuberant dancing from the whole cast, and from Alexander Campbell and Francesca Hayward in particular.

    We would also second some of the suggestions above for further improvement of these wonderful transmissions:
    1) Filming techniques:
    It's so very important to choreograph the camerawork, so that it can make the most of the potential to show the dancing from a variety of angles and distances.

    There were far too many close ups in proportion to wider/longer shots, and the camera didn't take a position high enough to make the most of the waltz of the flowers, especially. It would be lovely to see cinematography that is as sensitive to the ballet as Peter Wright's choreography is sensitive to Tchaikovsky's score.

    E.g. when a main dance is shared between a group of three, please show us all three, don't keep cutting to just one of the dancers! Save those close ups for solo work at particular moments of emotional significance (e.g. Clara's fear and wonder during the transformation scene).

    2) Is there a reason why the cast list wasn't presented on screen at the start (as in the Met Opera HD transmissions)?

    3) The interval conversations were charming and hilarious, but perhaps it would be worth shortening the cinema interval to 10 mins to allow more time to respond to the tweeted questions, rather than making that such a token gesture.

    4) A bit more information about the logic of the production would have been good in the pre-performance introduction. The "Don Quixote" intro a few weeks ago was wonderfully informative. For this production it would have been worth pointing out basic stuff about the period setting and Peter Wright's and his colleagues' logic in the production design and choreography (i.e. snippets of the kind of explanations that would go into the program notes). It was also my impression that the camerawork was more artful for Don Quixote (better suited to bringing out the vibrancy and nuance of the choreography), though it's hard to compare, as I have never seen DQ in real life.

    5) Our cinema had serious sound problems, too - we all assumed that this was a problem at their end, not from the transmission, but the comments above made me wonder, especially as this particular cinema has presented many Met Operas with no problems.

    • Hi Antonia,

      Thanks for taking the time for such a detailed reply! I'll try and answer some of the points you have made - I work on the technical side of the broadcasts. We'll also try to take on some of the points raised here by everyone - it is all useful feedback.

      We are a little limited in camera positions we can use here in the auditorium - there are very few positions higher up we can make use of without either taking up a very large number of seats (as the cameras would block many people's view) - the higher up positions we have used tend to be off centre to avoid blocking sight lines.

      You can read a piece written by the Cinema Director of both Nutcracker and Don Quixote here:

      Cast lists are normally available in the cinemas for our shows, hence we don't tend to have them on screen.

      I'm sad to hear you had sound problems. I'm not sure how your cinema received the transmission (rebroadcast via satellite or like films are distributed these days on a hard drive) - we checked the sound in a cinema over the original satellite link on the day of the broadcast and everything worked great then, and what you received should have been good. If you can provide any more details as to what the problem was I might be able to work out what the problem was - I replied to someone above to give you some idea what might help in the detective work.

      Very glad you enjoyed it - we've got Giselle, Sleeping Beauty and The Winter's Tale coming up in the spring/summer.


      Mark Thackeray
      Broadcast Engineer, Royal Opera House

  64. Antonia responded on 18 December 2013 at 8:50pm Reply

    p.s. After my long list of suggestions, I want to reemphasize that I (and most of my friends) loved every minute! These are all just suggestions to improve what is already a wonderful experience. Further improvements might make it even more compelling for people who are being introduced via cinema to a new art form, or at least to a production that's new to them.

  65. wendy lorelli responded on 19 December 2013 at 11:45am Reply

    extraordinary!!!!!! magic atmosphere.. it was as a dream, i think everybody have lived clara's dream...
    sorry for my english..
    by wendy from italy!!!!

  66. Antonia responded on 20 December 2013 at 11:53pm Reply

    Thank you so much for your helpful reply. I'll ask the manager of the local movie theater to see about printing off cast lists in future, and will try to do some detective work on the sound problem, too.

    I wonder if these cinema transmissions will eventually build up enough steam as outreach/education events to attract further grants or sponsorship that would allow some blocks of seats to be used for cameras to do higher angle shots, at least for certain kinds of ballet?

    In the article you linked to, it was interesting to see the director's emphasis on the frequent close ups and quick cutting that he evidently perceives as making ballet more cinematic and less theatrical (and I totally agree that it's important to make the most of the differences rather than trying to recreate an experience just like a live performance). But these preoccupations might work better for Romeo and Juliet or Don Quixote than for the Nutcracker, where there are fewer duets and solos, and where the storytelling and emotional developments are perhaps more often subordinated to sheer abstract beauty (though this production by Peter Wright is the most effective I've ever seen at giving emotional/story-telling intensity to that beauty).

    Thank you again!

  67. Helena responded on 21 December 2013 at 8:37pm Reply

    Just returned from the Rialto Theatre, Limassol, Cyprus and wanted to tell you all at the ROH how grateful I am to have seen Peter Wright's wonderful production. Utterly enchanting, I was captivated from start to finish. Congratulations to all the performers, you are all stars!

    On the technical side: there is room for improvement, we couldn't hear what Darcey was saying, at times she was fading in and out. Also, please consider introducing cast credits at the beginning (as they do in cinema films) It would be so lovely to showcase your talented cast as they do at the Met HD screenings. And yes, I agree with the 'close-up; issue: please show the whole dancer/s, after all it is ballet!!

    Looking forward to more productions in 2014. I wish you all a Happy Christmas.

  68. Clive hasnip responded on 21 December 2013 at 9:39pm Reply

    Watched it tonite in Limassol at the cinema.
    Always used to attend the ROH when resident in the UK. Well, seeing the performance so close is terrific compared to the back of the Amplitheatre.
    I have always maintained that the Royal Ballet are the best & they certainly were tonite. Nice to see Darcey as well.
    Quite outstanding 5 out of 5.

  69. virginia waters responded on 2 February 2014 at 5:04am Reply

    moved to tears by sugar plum pas dd. I have never seen it danced so beautifully. watched in horrible theatre in Adelaide Australia. moths flying around and 43 degrees cent. outside. still worth the effort thankyou, thank you.

  70. Just returned from the "encore" of Nutcracker in Derby. We just love these screenings; such a great opportunity to see first class ballet out of London or the big cities.
    I enjoy the backstage visits and informative interviews nearly as much as the ballets themselves; they are a real bonus.. Darcey is perfect for the job and to me the information and insight into the performance, adds a new dimension to what is always a wonderful experience.
    I would appreciate a cast list prior to the screening; sometimes available, sometimes not.
    Thank you again to all involved for a stunning performance.

    • Sarah Walsh (Cinema Account Coordinator) responded on 4 January 2016 at 3:40pm

      Dear Sue,

      I'm so glad that you enjoy our cinema screenings! We send cast sheets for each of our relays to all the cinemas beforehand and ask that they be handed out to our audience members but unfortunately it seems you missed out this time. The cast sheets (in various languages) are always added to our website, when available, prior to each live screening too. You can access them by selecting the relevant production on our homepage -

      I hope this helps and in the meantime we're sending a reminder to all cinemas that the cast sheets are both expected by our audience, and enjoyed!

      Kind regards,


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