From 18 Sept for three weeks, on Fridays at 7PM, the ROH shares a popular production, starting that night with Carmen, as directed by Barrie Kosky. His refreshing and original view of Bizet's well-loved story of a seductress and her fate has a magnificent cast including Anna Goryachova in the title role, Italian tenor Francesco Meli as her suitor Don Jose and Lithuanian bass-baritone Kostas Smoriginas as the toreador Escamillo.
The Royal Ballet’s production of Dances at a Gathering is screened on Friday 25 September. Jerome Robbins’ much-loved ballet made a welcome return to the Royal Opera House as part of the 2019/20 season after an absence of 11 years.
Our dance critic reviewed the very beautiful Dances at a Gathering here, saying: 'No set, no props: just 10 warmly lit radiant dancers, the women in flowing pastel dresses, taking to the stage and relishing the opportunity to dance. Robbins insisted there were ‘no plots and no roles’, although the personalities of each dancer are allowed to shine through.
Not your typical Carmen.... The chorus in Bizet's opera. Photo: Bill Cooper
Choreographed by Robbins in 1969 for New York City Ballet to music by Chopin, the ballet is an exercise in pure dance, and is regarded as a masterpiece of subtlety and invention. This performance features many Royal Ballet favourites, including Marianela Nuñez, Francesca Hayward, Yasmine Naghdi, Fumi Kaneko, Laura Morera, Alexander Campbell, William Bracewell, and Federico Bonelli.
They are known affectionately as 'Cav and Pag', and they are among the most powerful and full-bodied operas: Pietro Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Ruggero Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci (The Players). From Friday 2 October, audiences can enjoy Damiano Michieletto’s 2015 Olivier Award-winning production which teems with life. Listen out for the famous Easter hymn in 'Cav' and the tears of a clown in 'Pag'.
The cast includes Dutch soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek and Lativan tenor Aleksandrs Antonenko. The highly recommended double-bill is conducted by a master of Italian opera, ROH music director Sir Antonio Pappano.
Meanwhile on Sky Arts, catch the Royal Opera’s heartbreaking production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly (2017) with soprano Ermonela Jaho in the title role, and Argentinian tenor Marcelo Puente as the American naval officer who recklessly marries the trusting young girl (Sat 20 Sept, 11 AM).
A week later Sky Arts broadcasts the Royal Opera’s 2016 production of Mozart’s Così Fan Tutte (2016) with Corinne Winters, Angela Brower and Daniel Behle among the criss-crossed lovers (Sat 27 Sept, 11AM).
Finally, on BBC Four, Tobias Kratzer’s new staging of Beethoven’s Fidelio features Lise Davidsen and the British tenor David Butt Philip, who stepped in when German tenor Jonas Kaufmann was too ill to perform. Click here to view.
Lise Davidsen stars in Fidelio, on BBC 4. Photo: Bill Cooper
Virtuosic performances and exhilarating productions all round, but when will the Royal Opera House open its (many) doors for music and dance once more? Apart from a brief appearance in the Open House scheme (19 and 20 Sept), Covent Garden remains closed to live audiences.
Surely this is the moment to give the spacious street-level foyer a new purpose? There is no shortage of artists ready to work, including wonderful instrumentalists, or of lovers of music and dance to attend, carefully, and other London venues are up and running again.
#OurHousetoYourHouse is a wonderful and ongoing service. But isn't it time for us to go from our homes to at least the front room of the home of top opera and ballet?
Opera and ballet productions cost £3 to view, and are streamed for 30 days. Click here for more details. Fidelio is on BBC 4 until July 2021. Click here to view.
|What||Royal Opera House online: Autumn dates|
|Where||Royal Opera House, Bow Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9DD | MAP|
18 Sep 20 – 25 Jul 21, Several events, start times and duration vary