My Christmas started all the way back almost two weeks ago on the 1st December when I went carol singing in our next village with some of the mums from the local school. This is an annual event, marked by the lighting up of the village Christmas tree.
Traditionally, this has been a huge pine tree on the village green, decorated top to bottom with lights and hung with wrapped cardboard boxes to represent presents. However last year the tree developed sickness and had to be felled. So this year’s tree was the deciduous tree next to it, with a string of lights through it:
Incidentally, my friend James went out on the same night, on a different continent, and with a better camera, and got this rather wonderful shot:
Despite the lo-fi lights, our village event was marked by lots of good cheer and excitement about our next singing event, set for the following Thursday. This was to be held in our local town, where we had been asked to provide some singers as part of the annual late night Christmas shopping event organised by the town.
I was still able to sing, although I was starting to come down with a heavy cold which eventually felled me over the last weekend (no morning run for me :-() and lingered on through the week. It’s hardly a major illness in the grand scale of things, but it did make cough a lot and unfortunately I was still coughing like a blocked drain on Thursday when we went to see The Royal Opera House’s The Nutcracker as it was beamed live across to local cinemas.
It seems a bit odd to be doing a review of The Nutcracker. Although we’ve never seen it before, it just seems to me one of those traditional things you do to be Christmassy, rather than an artistic endeavour. It was very sweet and sugary, and I’m not that into sweet and sugary (apart from when it is in a drink). The set was lovely, especially the giant Christmas tree and the snow scene, and the dancing was exquisite, especially the solos in the second half – really astonishingly fast. One of the benefits of seeing ballet at the cinema is that there is a very short but insightful accompanying film and introduction, during which the presenter, Darcy Bussell, had revealed just how exhausting the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy is, how difficult it is to manufacture all that apparently effortless confection and light.
It did seem a little bit light on story though, which the Lovely Daughters commented on. Overall however the performance elicited the standard commentary, which was “It was good.”
I know the story is quite a simple one and its function is essentially that of a seasonal crowd pleaser, but I thought comment from GoodKnowsBetter at the bottom of this Guardian review added an extra dimension regarding what else the production could have included.
I’d love to include a picture of the Royal Opera House’s Christmas tree but instead, here is a picture of mine.
More on Tree anon.