Catch The Royal Ballet’s The Nutcracker live in cinema near you on 5 December 2017

The Royal Ballet’s Christmas classic The Nutcracker will be relayed live to cinemas around the world on 5 December 2017.

With its festive period setting, dancing snowflakes and enchanting stage magic, Lev Ivanov’s 1892 ballet has become the perfect Christmas entertainment, with Tchaikovsky’s sumptuous, sugar-spun music the most recognizable of all ballet scores. Peter Wright’s nigh-on definitive production for The Royal Ballet ranks as one of the most enduring and enchanting versions around.

To enhance your viewing experience, access our Nutcracker Digital Programme for free using the promo code FREENUT, and enjoy a range of specially selected films, articles, pictures and features to bring you closer to the production


The story

The Nutcracker tells the story of Clara, who creeps downstairs on Christmas Eve to play with her favourite present – a Nutcracker doll. Magic is in the air, however, and she’s soon whisked off on an adventure to faraway lands of sweets and snowflakes.

The choreography and music

The Nutcracker contains some of the most iconic ballet music ever written. But as traditional as it sounds more than a century after its premiere, the score was revolutionary in its time due to the use of an entirely new instrument – the icy celesta which performs the best-known part of the score: the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

But as impressive as it is sonically, the production is a feast for the eyes too through choreographer Peter Wright’s reinterpretation of Ivanov’s original steps. ‘I was always moved by the classics,’ he says, ‘And I found I loved re-making some of these scenes. I wanted each step to connect with the audience.’

As well as technical footwork, The Nutcracker also draws on the grand classical ballet tradition of mime to drive forward the action.


Robert Fairchild Says Goodbye to City Ballet With Balanchine and Roses


Robert Fairchild bid farewell to the New York City Ballet on Sunday afternoon in George Balanchine’s “Duo Concertant.” In a recent interview with The New York Times, Mr. Fairchild, 30, described the ballet as “tap dancing with ballet shoes, skimming like a stone on water.”

Mr. Fairchild, who retires as a principal, hasn’t danced his last dance. Nominated for a Tony for “An American in Paris,” he plans to pursue a career in acting and musical-theater. At his final curtain call, Mr. Fairchild, the youngest dancer to have a farewell event at City Ballet, choreographed an unusual flower presentation: he stood by a basket of roses and handed a flower to fellow principal dancers, who came onstage one by one.


The last rose was saved for Peter Martins, the company’s ballet master in chief, who gave one of his own to Mr. Fairchild, who then placed it at the front of the stage, looked out at the crowd and touched his chest. This was a farewell of thanks.

“Duo Concertant,” a 1972 pas de deux set to Stravinsky, begins as two dancers listen intently to a pianist and a violinist. Mr. Fairchild’s longtime partner, Sterling Hyltin, was visibly choking back tears — the pair were the original Romeo and Juliet in Mr. Martins’s 2007 production — but when it came time to move, their dancing was full of jazzy effervescence. It’s what Mr. Fairchild is known for. As his sister, the principal Megan Fairchild, wrote on Instagram: “This boy eats up space on writing my paper stage like nobody else.”

Your Week in Culture: ‘Nutcracker,’ James Levine and Christmas Scripted by Charles Dickens

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“The Nutcracker” is ballet tradition, passed down from one generation to the next. “Yes, I was in it — Mouse, Hoop — everything, just like everybody else,” said George Balanchine in Nancy Reynolds’s “Repertory in Review: 40 Years of the New York City Ballet.”

His version at City Ballet, featuring more than 150 dancers and musicians, as well as two casts of students from the company-affiliated School of American Ballet, is grandly named “George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker.”

It’s not as if you could mistake his 1954 gem for anyone else’s. The children are both scrupulous and full of wide-eyed innocence. The Snowflake Waltz, with its onstage blizzard, is a choreographic wonder. And as for that glorious tree? It weighs one ton and grows from 12 to 40 feet. Back in the day, even as costs for his “Nutcracker” were skyrocketing, Balanchine wouldn’t budge: The ballet, he insisted, was the tree. GIA KOURLAS

Film: Charles Dickens on Screen

“Three flops in a row, up to your eyeballs in debt,” the character Ebenezer Scrooge taunts Charles Dickens, mired in writer’s block, as he stares at a sign promising his next story — a tale about Christmas — above an empty stand in a London bookstore window. “I’d think you’d be glad of some advice.”

Bharat Nalluri’s “The Man Who Invented Christmas,” opening Wednesday, Nov. 22, and adapted from Les Standiford’s book, imagines the conversations between author and characters that Dickens claimed haunted him during the six weeks in 1843 when he wrote “A Christmas Carol.” Dan Stevens — forever Matthew Crawley to “Downton Abbey” enthusiasts — plays the rock star-esque Dickens, plagued by money woes and a debilitating fear he might never write again; Jonathan Pryce is his profligate father, and the source of his feverish nightmares; and Christopher Plummer is ice-veined Scrooge.

Pair it this Thanksgiving weekend with the Steven Soderbergh-produced Western series, “Godless,” streaming Wednesday on Netflix, in which Michelle Dockery — Mr. Stevens’s “Downton” love, Lady Mary — gets some screen time of her own. KATHRYN SHATTUCK

Classical Music: James Levine Leads Verdi’s Requiem

Perhaps the greatest disappointment of the Metropolitan Opera’s 2017-18 season was the company’s decision to cancel a new production of Verdi’s “La Forza del Destino” by the visionary, controversial director Calixto Bieito, in an attempt to cut costs. At least its replacement will sound a somber note in memoriam: The company’s emeritus music director James Levine will make a rare appearance to lead four concert performances of Verdi’s titanic Requiem.

A star team of soloists — Krassimira Stoyanova, Ekaterina Semenchuk, Aleksandrs Antonenko, and Ferruccio Furlanetto — will join Levine and the Met orchestra and chorus in bringing to life the composer’s hyper-dramatic funeral mass, written to honor the death of the patriotic Italian novelist Alessandro Manzoni. WILLIAM ROBIN

Theater: ‘The Wolves’ at Lincoln Center

It comes as a shock, in the final scene of Sarah DeLappe’s dazzlingly fierce and funny debut play, “The Wolves,” when one character mentions another by name. Until then, we know them all — nine teenage girls, members of an indoor soccer team called the Wolves — only by jersey number: 7, a bullying alpha, reckless with her talent; 25, the team captain, unironic in ordering the ladies to circle up; 46, the newbie, excruciatingly awkward and, in Tedra Millan’s beautifully nuanced performance, exceptionally endearing.

The chance to spend time with them again is reason to celebrate the return of Lila Neugebauer‘s kinetic production. Seen Off Broadway twice last season, it’s in previews at Lincoln Center Theater, where it opens on Monday, Nov. 20, with almost the entire original cast. A finalist for this year’s Pulitzer Prize, “The Wolves” is perfectly attuned to this moment — taking for granted that young women are whole human beings, and aware that not everyone sees them that way. LAURA COLLINS-HUGHES

TV: Ashley Jensen in ‘Love, Lies & Records’


Last year — after a career playing the effervescent sidekick in “Extras,” “Ugly Betty” and “Catastrophe” — the Scottish actress Ashley Jensen glammed up in fuchsia lipstick and a matching leather jacket for a long-overdue lead as a London publicist turned Cotswolds sleuth in “Agatha Raisin,” an original series from the streaming site Acorn TV.

Alas, a second season wasn’t to be. But Acorn’s programmers, bless ’em, are back on Ms. Jensen’s bandwagon with “Love, Lies & Records,” starting Monday, Nov. 20. Co-produced with BBC One (it debuts a few days earlier in Britain), the six-part drama stars Ms. Jensen as a registrar in Leeds, where she invariably summons precisely the right words for life’s big moments — births, deaths and marriages — while bumbling through her own relationships, hampered by an office indiscretion and a blackmailing colleague. Kay Mellor, who was inspired to create the show after registering her own mother’s death, has called it “anti-Brexit,” centering story lines on same-sex marriage, immigration and transgender struggles. KATHRYN SHATTUCK

Art: Anne Truitt at the National Gallery

Anne Truitt’s otherworldly but deeply humane wooden monoliths are unmistakable demonstrations of the positive value of restraint. You can’t see every one of the 20 or so layers of paint that went into a piece like the nearly seven-foot tall, golden yellow “Summer Remembered,” but it shimmers distinctly with the artist’s focused concentration.

With the exception of three years in Tokyo in the late 1960s, Truitt (1921-2004) spent her working life in Washington, D.C. The National Gallery of Art’s sampling of sculptures and drawings that span most of Truitt’s career is an opportunity to see her work in exactly the light — and latitude — she made it for. WILL HEINRICH

Pop: Noname and Kweku Collins in Chicago

Energy drinks aren’t for everyone, but you don’t need to consume them to enjoy the arts programming that Red Bull sponsors each year in cities around the world. For music fans, the company’s latest venture — 30 Days in Chicago, a monthlong festival with an emphasis on hip-hop and R&B — is a pick-me-up in itself.

The lineup this week is particularly strong, with performances by Noname, the lyricist behind last year’s acclaimed “Telefone” (Nov. 21 at Concord Music Hall); the promising Canadian crooner Daniel Caesar (Nov. 20 at Reggie’s Rock Club); and the thoughtful rapper Kweku Collins (Nov. 25 at Space), among others.

While tickets for many shows have sold out, it’s worth checking out the resale market for a chance to see these blazing young talents in action. SIMON VOZICK-LEVINSON