Ballet brilliance at London’s Royal Opera House

BRON IN THE DON| Fancy getting up close and personal with men in tights, women in tutus, or is operatic performance more your thing? Our resident adventurer discovers the spiritual home of both, and takes in a performance of The Nutcracker, when she ticks off #98 on the Timeout London Top 100- the Royal Opera House.


London Royal Opera House

DESPITE its name, the Royal Opera House is not only about Opera. It is also home to the Royal Ballet and, with classics like The Nutcracker showing over the Christmas period, I couldn’t wait to go. Like a lot of young girls I had ballet classes when I was younger, and still have a soft spot for point shoes and tutus.

A couple of years ago I spotted posters on the tube in the lead up to Christmas for The Nutcracker by the Royal English Ballet. Feeling in the festive spirit I decided to buy a ticket. Well, that was a rookie mistake. Turns out any ticket with a decent view, or which was in my price range, was sold out. Last year, I got in early and by July had booked tickets for the upcoming Christmas period.

One of the best things about the Royal Opera House website is it lets you preview your seat, so you can see the view you will get. With a little extra effort, I found great seats – even though up in the nosebleed section – which were also affordable at around £40.

After waiting nearly six months, December finally rolled around and it was time to get into the Christmas spirit. The building itself is stunning, with an impressive history. The current facade, foyer and auditorium date from 1858, with a refurbishment in 1990 bringing new life to the other parts of the impressive theatre.

While I am no ballet connoisseur, I could tell the whole show was fantastic. As I watched the dancing I was completely enchanted by the costumes and stage setting. Scored by Tchaikovsky, the music was familiar as it told the story of the Toy Soldier and Sugar Plum fairy. The famous dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy didn’t disappoint, and I felt a renewed desire to put my tutu back on and become a ballerina.

The experience was worth the wait. I am now even keener to revisit the building for an Opera. I may not find it quite as exciting as ballet (after all, I didn’t sing Opera growing up), but it is at least another chance to visit this beautiful building.