The new full-length classical ballet by Kenneth Greve, The Snow Queen - with music by Tuomas Kantelinen (best known for his film music) - has had excellent reviews, and it was sold out almost immediately, even the six extra perfomances in January went in a flash, they say. And of course a new full-length ballet is an event - something much rarer than a new opera.

It's hardly necessary to say that the ballet is based on the story by the Dane Hans Christian Andersen, Kenneth Greve's compatriot, but it takes place in Finland, starting in an idyllic Helsinki and ending in mythical Lapland. It is full of tourist clichés, which the makers were surely aware of, but still I'd have preferred a fresher approach - not to mention mental clichés, which the makers surely were not aware of, unfortunately.

The music is recorded, they say it was because the space over the pit was needed, but I didn't see anything happening there that couldn't have happened elsewhere. Live dancers and recorded music don't mix; they exist in separate worlds. I admit that it does permit sounds and effects not possible for an orchestra, but I believe an arrangement could have been found.

The spoken commentary by Grandmother disturbed less than I expected, but it shouldn't have been necessary.

I found many of the scenes fun to watch but too long, especially in the first act. Unfortunately the dancing was also less than perfect at times: when one sees ballerinas line up in white tutus, one expects absolute precision - fuzziness spoils the effect completely. But otherwise it was enchanting visually.

The reviewers are already seeing in The Snow Queen a new classic, something to replace The Nutcracker in the Christmas season repertory. But if I had to choose, I'd take The Nutcracker any time - Tuomas Kantelinen is no Tschaikovsky, nor is Kenneth Greve a Petipa. However, with time it may develop into something worthwhile.