IT’S a magical Christmas treat which for many is among the most glittering and dazzling high points of the season.
Now, however, for the first time in a decade, Scottish Ballet is preparing to quit its Glasgow base and launch its hugely popular Christmas production in Edinburgh.
It has chosen to revive one of its best-loved ballets, Peter Darrell’s child-friendly version of The Nutcracker, which was thought to have been seen for the last time when the curtain came down on its Edinburgh run 18 years ago.
And audiences will enjoy the first chance to see two of the stars of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in action: principal dancers Christopher Harrison and Sophie Martin, who captivated viewers with an enchanting pas de deux set to a graceful version of The Proclaimers’ song 500 Miles, are expected to perform key roles.
Scottish Ballet is decamping from the Theatre Royal – where every December for the last decade it has performed its sumptuous “fairy tale” inspired festive ballets – in favour of a three-week Christmas run at the Festival Theatre.
It means Edinburgh audiences who would normally have to wait until mid-January for their first glimpse of the Christmas show will now be able to enjoy the sparkling costumes and stunning scenery at the very height of the festive season.
The move east is being seen as a major achievement for the Edinburgh theatre and comes after lengthy talks.
“We are delighted to have Scottish Ballet back with us for Christmas,” said Duncan Hendry, chief executive of Festival and Kings Theatres.
“They were last here for Christmas in 2003 with Ashley Page’s The Nutcracker. It’s a real coup for us to have them come with Peter Darrell’s The Nutcracker, a beautiful version of the classic fairytale which tells the story from children’s perspective and was last performed here in Christmas 1996.”
The Nutcracker, with its familiar Pyotr Tchaikovsky score, is set at Christmas time, when a little girl’s favourite toy – a soldier shaped nutcracker – comes to life.
The much-loved version which comes to the Festival Theatre from 13 December, was developed in the early 1970s by the company’s founder, Mr Darrell. Unlike some later interpretations which focussed heavily on darker elements in the classic tale, his is a colourful and charming childlike dream story full of beautiful sugar plum fairies, cheeky dancing mice and delicate snowflakes.
n Scottish Ballet’s version of Peter Darrell’s The Nutcracker runs at the Festival Theatre from 13 December until 3 January.