the royal opera house

Nutcrackers Galore

Cultural institutions can become quickly established. A full Nutcracker wasn’t shown in England until 1934, and in America until 1944. Now, in traditional stagings, with swathes of snow, tutus, Chrsitmas trees and rats and that forever fey Sugar Plum Fairy, it has become integrated into the experience of Christmas for many. (Let’s leave aside any comment on commercialisation of the same!)


Monotones I and II, The Two Pigeons (mat. & eve.) – The Royal Ballet, December 5 2015

A double dose of Ashton, two pieces more in opposition in tone and character couldn’t really be programmed. The program itself underscores Ashton’s individual talent and innovations – and his ardency for tradition.


Madama Butterfly, Opolais, Jagde, Viviani, Bosi, Luisotti – The Royal Opera House, March 20th 2015

I didn’t like this as much as everyone else.  Mainly this was down to the minimalist set and staging, which felt a lot like a “one room drama”, and was about as edifying as a trip round Ikea.

Nods to early 20th century Japan look instead like twee japonisme. (There’s a fine line between accuracy and stereotype). Seen in light of Opera Australia‘s more modern-day production, which I could not help recalling, this production seems in all ways a little stiff. Taking place as it does in this austere space, with the backwall made up of a huge shoji screen and a bare floor, it is up to Kristine Opolais to light up the evening.