The storyline, chosen by the first choreographer Marius Petipa, is based on part of The Nutcracker And The Mouse King by E T A Hoffmann. Apparently Petipa gave Tchaikovsky such tight constraints for the score that he was not particularly keen to compose it. The original performance, as part of a double bill with the opera Iolanta, was not a wild success and the ballet did not become a must-see until the 1960s.
The Royal Opera House performance will star Roberta Marquez as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Steven McRae as the Prince. (Steven was the fabulous Mad Hatter in Alice In Wonderland!) The Royal Ballet Sinfonia Orchestra will be conducted by Koen Kessels and the choreography is by Peter Wright after Lev Ivanov.
One Christmas Eve, a family and their friends have gathered to begin the seasonal festivities. At eight o'clock, the children's godfather, Herr Drosselmeyer, arrives. A talented toymaker and magician, he has brought lifesize dolls who dance to the delight of the children. Clara is sad when the dolls are put away, but then Drosselmeyer brings out a Nutcracker doll which Clara loves but her brother spitefully breaks. After everyone else has gone to bed, Clara creeps back downstairs to see the Nutcracker, and finds herself in a magical world of Gingerbread solders and huge mice.
Cineworld, 13th Dec, 19:15.
Tickets £17 (£13.50 concessions). Available online, by calling 0871 200 2000, or in person at the Ticket Office.