A Christmas CarolA Ballet based on Charles Dickens' Novella
A Christmas classic revisited in dance form at the Finnish National Opera: Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. It's the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a grumpy, miserly old man who, on Christmas Eve, is visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. A magical tale popular with all ages, adapted into a ballet by an all-British artistic team including composer Sally Beamish and choreographer David Bintley.
It is the morning of Christmas Eve and Londoners are preparing to exchange Christmas presents. The miserly, cold-hearted Ebenezer Scrooge, however, doesn’t like the jolly bustling around him at all, and he also hates Christmas from the bottom of his heart. He shoos away the people who are collecting money for the poor and refuses to celebrate Christmas with his nephew Fred’s family. Bob Cratchit, who works for Scrooge, is shivering with cold because his stingy boss won’t allow him to put any more coal on the fire.
As Scrooge walks through the streets, he hears a ghost calling after him. Terrified, he locks himself in his house. Jacob Marley was his only friend and he was just as cold and stingy as Scrooge. After Marley’s death, his shares in the “Scrooge and Marley” department store passed to Scrooge. Marley’s ghost wants to warn Scrooge of the terrible fate that awaits him – dragging heavy shackles around with him for all eternity. That night, Scrooge meets three more ghosts: the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.
The Ghost of Christmas Past takes Scrooge back to his childhood. Little Ebenezer has no friends, dreams of heroes and suffers at the hands of his father and his strict headmaster. Young Scrooge and Marley are taken on as apprentices in a shop and Scrooge proposes to his first love, Belle. The two men are successful and take over the business, but Belle realises that Scrooge cares more about money than love and leaves him.
The Ghost of Christmas Present leads Scrooge through a Christmassy London and into the home of his employee, Bob Cratchit. The Cratchits’ little boy, Tiny Tim, is seriously ill, and they live in poverty on Bob’s meagre salary. Nevertheless, they manage to enjoy their Christmas Eve and even propose a toast to their employer. Scrooge’s nephew Fred also enjoys a joyful family Christmas without his Uncle Ebenezer. Scrooge begins to regret his cold-heartedness towards Fred, Bob and their families.
The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come shows the Cratchit family gathered around Tiny Tim’s little coffin to mourn their dead son. At the cemetery, Scrooge is also made to visit his own grave.
When Scrooge wakes up on Christmas morning, he realises that it’s not too late to join in the festivities. He rushes to Fred’s party and apologises to the family. He then makes his way to Bob’s house, laden with a delicious Christmas feast. Scrooge has become a better man and he even becomes like a second father to Tiny Tim, who is beginning to recover from his illness.
This is not the first collaboration with the Finnish National Opera and Ballet for choreographer David Bintley, who is a former artistic director of Birmingham Royal Ballet. A few years ago, he worked with the Opera’s ballet company on a production of Cinderella. For London-born composer Sally Beamish, “A Christmas Carol” is her third full-length ballet score. The dazzling costumes and stage sets are by Anna Fleischle, a successful theatre designer who has already worked on numerous productions in Europe and the United States.
Recorded on 9 December 2023 at the Finnish National Opera and Ballet.
Finnish National Ballet
Finnish National Opera Orchestra