Christmas and the Ballet

by Susann Laughton

Christmas is fast approaching and I’m leafing through my Southbank Centre Classical Music guide, worrying that I might be far too late already for some of my most favourite performances.

When I fell in love with London about 20 years ago, it was for many things but mostly for the vast variety of cultural offerings for people of all ages and tastes.

I grew up in East Germany, behind the Iron Curtain, where Tschaikovski was the Justin Bieber of our days. Today, I mostly listen to Rn’B and Radio 1, but around Christmas, I do need a dose of Russian classical music to get me into the perfect festive mood.

Last year it was time for my four year old daughter to be introduced to my little Christmas tradition. A perfect choice my little the budding ballet dancer was a production of Prokofiev’s Cinderella by the Royal Opera House in London.

We took a huge gamble, as the performance only started at 7pm which normally equates to her having a bedtime story read (and no, it’s not scary Russian fairy tales). The performance takes two hours, divided into three acts with two intervals. You might be calling me mad for taking a four (and half) year old to such a mammoth performance but all our fears of her whining or misbehaving were unfounded.

The magic of the music, the pretty dresses and the beautiful stage set was doing the trick. She was sitting still the whole time, totally mesmerized by the new experience, even telling me off for whispering something into her ear. Nobody was allowed to disturb this wonderful adventure of hers. The intervals were spent feeding her copious amounts of ice cream to keep her going. You can guess what she thought of the whole event; it was her best day ever and she is still talking about it today.

I was absolutely thrilled this year to find out that the Royal Opera House London is putting on Tschaikovski’s Nutcracker, which for me is the ultimate Christmas ballet. But it seems not only for me, as tickets are selling fast. Luckily its not only the Royal Opera House who is putting this on but also the English National Ballet at the London Coliseum.

I’m glad to say that I’m now the proud owner of three tickets for the Royal Opera House performing Nutcracker on a Saturday in December. Especially as they are promising a show with all frills and glitter. Just watching the trailer on their website makes me looking forward to Christmas already.

It is going to be a tougher call this time for my daughter, as the performance is 2 hours and 20 mins with only one interval. But at least my little girl will be one year older and I’m counting once again on the skills of the Royal Opera House costume & set designers, let alone Tschaikovski’s musical genius.

I can’t wait to see those twinkles in her eyes again, imagining being that ballerina down on stage...

Susann Laughton is one of the many clever people behind

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