..... though I'll supplement them with the Royal Ballet's very different version from 2001 .....
Birmingham Royal Ballet's version by Sir Peter Wright is ABSOLUTELY THE BEST EVER!! He made the ballet for Christmas 1990 as a gift to the City of Birmingham for the city's funding and support for the company to move from London to Birmingham.
This production has only been seen twice outside Birmingham - once at the Lyceum Theatre in London and once at the Lowry in its opening season. I've seen it every year from 1990 to 2009 and have never got tired of it. It has absolutely the best transformation scene EVER. The moment when the Rats appear from the fireplace never fails to send tingles down my spine. The duet for the awakened Nutcracker and Clara is so beautiful that you do not even realise the set has changed from the giant Christmas tree to a winter wonderland until the dancers realise it themselves.
This production is available on DVD with Miyako Yoshida and Irek Mukhamedov. It would be wonderful if it was filmed with some of the current casts. Carol-Anne Miller, Nao Sakuma and Chi Cao opened the season on Friday night (27th November) with a truly sublime performance. As one of my friends said the following day. Chi was not only on the music "he was the music".
Lucky ballet fans in Houston have a couple of opportunities to see Chi Cao in their Nutcracker season as he is guesting for four performances just before Christmas.
The RB production, also by Sir Peter Wright, is some years older. I find it hard to believe that these productions have been produced by the same person. I saw the RB one in 1986 and have never wanted to see it again!
Here is a link to a review of Sir Peter Wright's two versions: http://www.telegraph...Nutcracker.html
Northern Ballet Theatre have been touring Christopher Gable/Massimo Morricone's production of A Christmas Carol. This is a real festive treat with gorgeous Victorian sets and costumes, a commissioned score by Carl Davies, some beautiful choreography and the dancers singing carols. It remains very close to the Charles Dickens story. (David Nixon has also made a delightful production of the Nutcracker for NBT, which I am hoping we will be able to see again next year). NBT will also be performing David Nixon's Peter Pan in Leeds over the Christmas period. This is a fantastic production for families with younger children.
JMcN - edited to add link to review