The Royal Opera House has announced a series of live performance broadcasts, together with some repertory favourites from both The Royal Ballet and The Royal Opera, throughout the November lockdown period.
A live-streamed concert performance of Ariodante will be broadcast on on Friday 20 November at 7.30pm GMT, available via the Royal Opera House streaming platform. Ariodante opened Handel's first season at Covent Garden in 1735 and has not been performed at the Royal Opera House since. Mezzo-soprano Paula Murrihy will perform in the title role with soprano Chen Reiss as Ginevra, bass-baritone Gerald Finley as the King of Scotland, soprano Sophie Bevan as Dalinda, tenor Ed Lyon as Lurcanio, countertenor Iestyn Davies as Polinesso, and South African tenor and former Jette Parker Young Artist Thando Mjandana as Odoardo. They will be joined by Baroque music specialist Christian Curnyn, who conducts the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House.
Oliver Mears, Director of The Royal Opera said, “We are thrilled to be presenting two first-class titles as part of our November lockdown offering – Ariodante, one of Handel's greatest operas, featuring a cast of outstanding British and international singers – and Don Giovanni, one of the most popular titles in the repertoire. The combination of glorious music and exceptional singers will be a joyful expression of everything the Royal Opera does best – at a time when we need it most.”
Following the success of The Royal Ballet: Back on Stage and welcoming an audience back into the building with The Royal Ballet: Live, there will be a special live-streamed performance this Friday 13 November at 7.30pm GMT. The programme includes the world premiere of Scherzo, a joyous new work featuring young members of the Company choreographed by first soloist Valentino Zucchetti, his first work for the main stage and seen in rehearsal during World Ballet Day. Celebrated pas de deux from the repertory will see Swan Lake with Francesca Hayward and Cesar Corrales, Frederick Ashton's Rhapsody with Akane Takada and Alexander Campbell, Kenneth MacMillan's; Manon with Laura Morera and Federico Bonelli and Concerto with Yasmine Naghdi and Nicol Edmonds, Cathy Marston's In Our Wishes with Romany Pajdak and Calvin Richardson plus George Balanchine's Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, with Royal Opera House debuts by Marcelino Sambé and Anna Rose O'Sullivan, and Le Corsaire with Marianela Nuñez and Vadim Muntagirov. The programme also includes Natalia Osipova in Fokine's Dying Swan solo plus Ashton's Dance of the Blessed Spirits with William Bracewell and Monotones II with Melissa Hamilton, Reece Clarke and Nicol Edmonds. The evening closes with a full performance of Christopher Wheeldon's ballet Within the Golden Hour featuring Sarah Lamb, Ryoichi Hirano, Fumi Kaneko, Reece Clarke, Anna Rose O'Sullivan and James Hay with artists of The Royal Ballet.
Kevin O'Hare, Director of The Royal Ballet, said, “Despite the challenges of a second lockdown, we are thrilled to be continuing to share the extraordinary artistry of our world-class dancers and musicians through these digital live streams. We hope that ballet lovers around the world will join us on Friday evening as our dancers gather again on the Covent Garden stage. At a time when our connections are paramount, we also hope that Ashton's affectionate character study of friendship in Enigma Variations will be life-affirming.”
ROH Friday Premieres continue throughout the month. Priced at £3.00, each will be available for 30 days streaming via stream.roh.org.uk. Our next ROH Friday premiere will be Frederick Ashton's Enigma Variations, to be streamed on Friday 4 December at 7pm GMT. Ashton's quintessentially British ballet was created in 1968 and last performed at Covent Garden in 2019. With period designs by Julia Trevelyan Oman and Edward Elgar's eponymous score, it stands as an enduring and evocative portrait of the composer and his companions. This streaming from the 2019 revival features performances from Royal Ballet Principals Laura Morera, Francesca Hayward and Matthew Ball alongside Principal Character Artist Christopher Saunders as Edward Elgar.
The next of these, on Friday 27 November, will be the Royal Opera's 2019 production of Mozart's Don Giovanni. Conducted by Hartmut Haenchen, the cast includes Erwin Schrott, Roberto Tagliavini, Malin Byström, Daniel Behle, Myrtò Papatanasiu, Louise Alder and Leon Košavić.
Alex Beard, Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House, said, “We are pleased to continue our programme of live and pre-recorded streamed and broadcast activity throughout lockdown. Whatever the challenges before us, we are determined to showcase the extraordinary talents of our remarkable community of artists and craftspeople, offering some much-needed relief and delight to audiences across the country. We very much look forward to the day we can welcome audiences back through our doors, but in the meantime, I want to thank everyone for their support and encouragement.”
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.