Danish Queen sets stage for Tivoli Nutcracker

Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:56pm EDT
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By John Acher

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Denmark's Queen Margrethe II is designing stage sets and costumes for a new production of "The Nutcracker" that will situate the ballet with Tchaikovsky's music in Copenhagen in the era of Hans Christian Andersen.

The 71-year-old queen, who is celebrating 40 years on the throne this year, told Reuters in an interview on Thursday that she wanted to create a special "Nutcracker" for adults and children alike and that she was easily persuaded to do the job.

The show will open at the concert hall of Tivoli Gardens, the venerable Copenhagen amusement park, on November 22. Twenty-eight performances are scheduled up to December 22.

"I was very easily caught, I must say," said the queen who was asked to join the project just over a year ago.

The queen, who opened a large exhibition of her paintings at a Copenhagen art museum in January, has designed stage sets and costumes for the theatre since the late 1980s. Among her earlier work were scenes for four small productions at Tivoli's pantomime theatre from 2001 to 2009.

"It's very exciting to do a full-length ballet with a lot of costumes and a more demanding kind of scenery," she said.

In all, the project involves designing more than 100 costumes and four large stage sets for a cast of 36 dancers.

The queen was asked by Tivoli's ballet chief, Peter Bo Bendixen, to join the team, and her designs are now ready to be handed over to the workers - the sets to be built and painted in Copenhagen and the costumes sewn in London.   Continued...

Denmark's Queen Margrethe II takes part at a wreath laying ceremony at the Monument to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad in St.Petersburg, September 8, 2011. REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk