Royal Ballet dancers Lauren Cuthbertson, Marcelino Sambé, Anna Rose O’Sullivan, Hannah Grennell and Gina Storm- Jenson grace the pages of the Winter 2016 issue of Town and Country magazine. A suitably festive shoot celebrates the Nutcracker in and around an Oxfordshire mansion.
The magazine’s Deputy Editor, Lydia Slater, writes,
Within moments of my arrival at Shotover House in Oxfordshire, the splendid location chosen for Town & Country’s shoot, I had been transported back into the childhood of my favourite fantasy, a landscape of fairies and flowers, walking dolls and animated sweets, mysterious wizards and wicked rodents, with a little girl as the heroine at the centre of it all.
Given my inability to contemplate Christmas without a visit to the Kingdom of Sweets, I have seen numerous different Nutcrackers over the years. As with all the best things Christmassy, in the end one always returns to tradition. For me, that is Peter Wright’s triumphant, emotional production, with its exquisite classical costumes and the Christmas tree, which miraculously grows to gigantic size before our very eyes. It has been performed by the Royal Ballet since 1984, and this year, the opening night will celebrate Wright’s 90th birthday. “I’ve lived with it for a long time, and it’s an ongoing experience,” he muses, when we speak on the phone later. “There’s magic in the air – the magic of the music, the brilliant dancing, amazing effects and an extraordinary story that comes to life. It has the highest and most varied amount of dance you could possibly wish for. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a ballet that isn’t just for a ballet audience, it’s for everybody.”
This is an extract from Lydia Slater’s feature, ‘A Dream of Christmas’. Read the full story in Town & Country’s winter issue, now on sale.
Photographs by Agata Pospieszynska and styled by Martha Ward
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.