First out from under the tree is this year’s revival of Richard Jones’s colourful 2017 production of Puccini's La Bohème, starring Bulgarian soprano Sonya Yoncheva as the frail Mimì, American tenor Charles Castronovo as her new lover Rodolfo, and Romanian-born soprano Simona Mihai as flirtatious Musetta in a spirited picture of artistic life in Paris. The Orchestra an Chorus of the Royal Opera House are conducted by Emmanuel Villaume. The stream will be available for 30 days via stream.roh.org.uk from 7pm on Friday 11 December, at £3 per ticket.
Also on demand from 20 December through the Royal Opera House’s new partnership with Netflix, is the original 2017 production, which starred Nicole Car and Michael Fabiano, conducted by Antonio Pappano.
On Christmas Day at 7pm on BBC Four, the Royal Opera All Star Gala features much-loved classics of the repertory, as showcased in the live concerts at Covent Garden (18-20 Dec). The whole family can enjoy highlights from Rossini’s Cinderella opera, La Cenerentola, Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, Puccini’s La Bohème, Mozart's The Magic Flute and Vaughan Williams’s Fantasia on Christmas Carols.
Conducted by Mark Wigglesworth, soloists include the soprano Sophie Bevan, mezzo-soprano Hanna Hipp, and baritone Roderick Williams with the combined forces of the Royal Opera Chorus, Jette Parker Young Artists and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House.
Roderick Williams sings in the Christmas Day concert and takes the role of Papageno in The Magic Flute. Photo: Richard Lewisohn
And free on YouTube from Christmas Day until 6 January is the Royal Opera's charming production, directed by David McVicar of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, as staged in 2017. Mauro Peter sings Tamino, who goes to the rescue of abducted Pamina (Siobhan Stagg). Roderick Williams is his unwilling helper, Papageno, and Sabine Devieilhe sings the firework arias of the Queen of the Night.
A particular highlight, streaming on the ROH website until 20 December, is the Royal Opera's five-star concert performance of Handel's Ariodante, featuring Irish mezzo-soprano Paula Murrihy, making an impressive ROH debut, and Israeli soprano Chen Reiss, in dazzling form as Ariodante's adored Ginevra. A great supporting cast includes soprano Sophie Bevan as Ginevra's confidante Dalinda, counter-tenor Iestyn Davies as the thwarted and vengeful suitor Polinesso, tenor Ed Lyon as Ariodante's good-hearted brother, bass-baritone Gerald Finley as the King of Scotland, and Jette Parker artist Thando Mjandana as the King's right-hand man.
At the bottom of this Christmas stocking, recent performances of a sumptuous Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann, Mozart’s sparkling comedy of swopped lovers, Così Fan Tutte, and Bellini’s operatic masterpiece, Norma, with Sonya Yoncheva in the title role as a priestess torn between love and duty.
|What||Royal Opera House online this Christmas|
11 Dec 20 – 08 Jan 21, Classic opera on demand and a Christmas Day concert at 7PM
|Price||£3-£10 and on subscription|
|Website||Click here for more information|