However, theatres may be dark, but they’re not idle: many are busy devising ways of bringing their productions to us.
And so it is that the Royal Opera House has developed a free programme of curated online broadcasts of some of its landmark productions, accessible on demand and for free via the ROH’s Facebook and YouTube channels.
Two ballets and two operas kick off this ROH initiative. They are, in chronological order:
Friday 27 March 2020 at 7pm UK time: The Royal Ballet’s 2010 production of Peter and the Wolf
Prokofiev’s ‘symphonic fairytale’ is the basis for Matthew Hart’s enchanting children’s ballet enhanced by eye-catching, colourful costumes for a cast of weird and wonderful characters. Danced by students of the Royal Ballet School, It should keep the cooped-up little ones entertained for a while; and the adults can feast their eyes on none other than Sergei Polunin at this glorious best in the central role of The Wolf.
Sunday 3 April 2020 at 7pm UK time: The Royal Opera’s 2009 production of Acis and Galatea
Handel’s pastoral masque delves into Greek myth and stars singers Danielle de Niese as the nymph Galatea and Charles Workman as Acis, the shepherd who loves her. This production brings together The Royal Opera and the Royal Ballet, and is directed and choreographed by Wayne McGregor. Christopher Hogwood conducts the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.
Friday 10 April 2020 at 7pm UK time: The Royal Opera’s 2010 production of Così Fan Tutte
Mozart’s bittersweet comedy centres on the trials of true love and is presented here in a revival of Jonathan Miller’s stylish modern-dress production, with a vibrant young cast. The Royal Opera House orchestra is conducted by the German Thomas Hengelbrock.
Friday 17 April 2020 at 7pm UK time: The Royal Ballet’s 2013 production of The Metamorphosis
This adaptation of Franz Kafka’s harrowing tale of a man who wakes up one day transformed into a giant insect is right up choreographer Arthur Pita’s street, appealing as it does to his wild and somewhat macabre imagination. In Royal Ballet principal dancer Edward Watson it has the ideal interpreter: with his enormous acting gifts and ultra-flexible body, Watson is at once heart-breaking and repulsive as Kafka’s monstrous insect.
Edward Watson in The Metamorphsis © ROH/Tristram Kenton 2011
Friday, 24 April 2020 at 7pm UK time: The Royal Opera's 2013 production of Gloriana
Benjamin Britten's opera in three Acts focuses on the relationship between Queen Elizabeth I, aka Gloriana, and the Earl of Essex, and was composed for the celebrations of the present Queen's coronation in 1953.
Friday, 1 May 2020 at 7pm UK time: The Royal Ballet's 2014 production of The Winter's Tale
Edward Watson as Leontes, Lauren Cuthbertson as Hermione, Federico Bonelli as Polixenes © ROH 2014 Johan Persson
Christopher Wheeldon's masterful adaptation of Shakespeare's eponymous play, a tale of pathological jealousy and its consequences leading to ultimate redemption, elicits outstanding performances from Edward Watson has the jealous husband Leontes, and Lauren Cuthbertson as his wronged wife Hermione.
It's a marvellous ballet, surely the Royal Ballet's first great work of the 21st century.
These are just the first offerings in what is expected to be a full programme of free online broadcasts by the ROH.
In addition, through its partnership with the BBC, some of its productions such as the ballet Mayerling, Papano’s Greatest Arias, and Darcey Bussell: Looking for Margot remain available on the iPlayer.
|What||Royal Opera House free online broadcasts|
|Where||Royal Opera House, Bow Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9DD | MAP|
27 Mar 20 – 17 Apr 20, 19:00 Dur varies according to production