Blu-ray

Talbot: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (The Royal Ballet)

Talbot: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (The Royal Ballet)

Lauren Cuthbertson (Alice); Sergei Polunin (Jack / The Knave of Hearts); Edward Watson (Lewis Carroll/ The White Rabbit); Zenaida Yanowsky (Mother / The Queen of Hearts); Steven Macrae (Mad Hatter);

"...an imaginative treatment of a favourite story. There are extraordinary, eccentric sets and special effects; colourful, larger-than-life, argumentative characters and extraordinary costumes." (Musicweb International)

Talbot: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (The Royal Ballet)

Talbot: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (The Royal Ballet)

Lauren Cuthbertson (Alice); Federico Bonelli (Jack/The Knave of Hearts); James Hay (Lewis Carroll/The White Rabbit); Laura Morera (Mother/The Queen of Hearts); Christopher Saunders (Father/The King of Hearts); Steven McRae (Magician/The Mad Hatter); Fernando Montano (Rajah/The Caterpillar); Gary Avis (The Duchess); Paul Kay (Vicar/The March Hare); Romany Pajdak (Verger/The Dormouse); Kristen McNally (The Cook); Tristan Dyer (Footman/Fish);

"The Royal Ballet's new season gets off to a phantasmagorical start - The Royal Ballet could hardly have chosen a more eye-popping or enjoyable production with which to launch its autumn season. And this is all the more gratifying given that the ballet in question is only six years old – a mere five in its current, three-act reincarnation. Cinematic but also unmistakably balletic, Joby Talbot’s complex, theme-driven score – coruscatingly orchestrated with the help of Christopher Austin – is full of magical surprises. Expertly aided and abetted by lighting guru Natasha Katz, designer Bob Crowley has had an absolute field day too, exploiting every means at his disposal – from puppetry to projection – to send us down the rabbit-hole with the heroine. Wheeldon, meanwhile, absolutely matches his collaborator’s contributions. This is a ballet that eloquently and respectfully reflects his Royal Ballet heritage (from its three-act structure, reliance on mime, and alternation of grand waltzes and intimate pas de deux, to its very Ashtonian reliance on largely cross-dressing comedy) while nevertheless feeling entirely 21st-century and absolutely its own thing. Together with dramaturge Nicholas Wright, he brings Alice even more to the fore than she is in the book, getting her involved in the action wherever possible, and delving deep into his choreographic box of tricks to bring each of the characters she encounters distinctively alive. Laura Morera (standing in for a sadly injured Zenaida Yanowksy) absolutely nails her twin roles as Alice’s mother and (supremely) the Queen of Hearts. Also deserving of plaudits are Fernando Montaño’s impossibly slinky Caterpillar, David Yudes’s spring-loaded Frog, and Gary Avis’s operatically OTT Duchess. But top marks go, above all, to Lauren Cuthbertson. As Alice, she avoids all the possible pitfalls of an adult playing a child, bringing pathos, wide-eyed innocence and matter-of-fact resourcefulness to the character, and never forgetting, amid all the elaborate stagecraft, to dance with great delicacy and impeccably classical precision. Wheeldon created the role on her, and it still feels like the part she was born to play." (The Daily Telegraph ★★★★)

Tchaikovsky: Cherevichki (The Tsarina's Slippers) (The Royal Ballet)

Tchaikovsky: Cherevichki (The Tsarina's Slippers) (The Royal Ballet)

Larissa Diadkova (Solokha); Maxim Mikhailov (The Devil); Vladimir Matorin (Chub); John Upperton (Panas); Olga Guryakova (Oxana); Vsevolod Grivnov (Vakula);

"It’s pretty as a picture, no question - an animated pop-up book of naïve and colourful charm." (The Independent)

Tchaikovsky: La Reine Morte (The Dead Queen) (Théâtre du Capitole)

Tchaikovsky: La Reine Morte (The Dead Queen) (Théâtre du Capitole)

Artjom Maksakov (Roi Ferrante); Maria Gutierrez (Dona Ines De Castro); Davit Galstyan (Don Pedro); Juliette Thelin (L'Infante); Takafumi Watanabe (Bouffon); Matthew Astley (Bouffon/Conseiller); Kayo Nakazato (Bouffonne/Mariée défunte); Caroline Betancourt (Bouffonne/Mariée défunte); Demian Vargas (Proche conseiller du roi);

"Set skilfully to various Tchaikovsky extracts, Kader Belarbi's ballet recreates a tragic and even bizarre episode of 14th century Portuguese history. Strikingly set and accessibly choreographed, the ballet offers a succession of striking visual images. The Toulouse company's performance, expertly captured in this recording, could hardly be bettered." (Musicweb International - Critic's choices for Pick of 2016)

Tchaikovsky: Lac after Swan Lake (Les ballets de monte carlo)

Tchaikovsky: Lac after Swan Lake (Les ballets de monte carlo)

Anja Behrend (Le Cynge Blanc); April Ball (Le Cynge Noir); Stephan Bourgond (Le Prince); Alvaro Prieto (The King); Mimoza Koike (The Queen); Jeroen Verbruggen (Le Confident du Prince); Bernice Coppieters (Sa Majesté la Nuit);

"Swan Lake has never cast such a chill" (Suddeutsche Zeitung)

Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker (San Francisco Ballet)

Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker (San Francisco Ballet)

Damian Smith (Drosselmeyer); Elizabeth Powell (Clara Stahlbaum); Davit Karapetyan (Nutcracker); David Arce (King of the Mice); Yuan Yuan Tan (Queen of Snow); Vanessa Zahorian (Sugar Plum Fairy);

"The opulent new version of the seasonal classic, launched spectacularly by the San Francisco Ballet, is every parent’s dream of a holiday treat. It looks scrumptious, tastes delicious, offers substantial nourishment and won’t cause cavities." (San Francisco Examiner)