There’s something beautifully comforting about watching The Nutcracker ballet on a cold winter’s night.
It’s like meeting an old friend who fills you with warmth from top to toe as soon as you hear the first note of Tchaikovsky’s soaring score.
The Russian State Ballet of Siberia’s performance – presented at The Grand on Monday by Raymond Gubbay Ltd – was no exception.
In fact, it was the most stunning I’ve seen yet, with exquisite costumes, a set with soft hues of blue, gold and purple, skilful choreography and a touch of humour to bring the magical fairy tale to life.
The story follows Marie, who is given the Nutcracker by eccentric toy inventor Drosselmeyer.
At midnight, the toy transforms into a handsome prince who rescues Marie from the Mouse King and his army and takes her on a journey to a fairy tale world.
The Spanish, Arabian (which featured beautiful choreography with an aquamarine silk scarf), Chinese, and Russian dances were a joy to watch while the troupe made the Waltz of the Snowflakes and Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy look sublimely graceful.
Kirill Bulychev, as the Prince, is sadly overshadowed in the pas de deux by the elegant Sayaka Takuda (Marie), whose beautiful arm extensions appear to reach as far as the stars.
Alexander Kuimov (as Drosselmeyer) slightly misjudged the timing of the Nutcracker Prince’s transformation, as noticed by my astute eight-year-old debut ballet guest (who said it was her dream to see a ballet).
Despite this, his character was a firm favourite with quirky little hand gestures and humorous touches which tickled the audience.
Skilfully conducted by Anatoly Chepurnoy, the orchestra had us from start to finish as this mesmerising ballet unfolded – a ballet which still makes dreams come true, whatever your age.
The ballet troupe performed Coppelia yesterday and will take to the stage again today at 2.30pm and 7.3opm with the classic Swan Lake.