The Royal Opera House will reopen its doors to audiences on 17 May 2021, with a schedule of in-person performances from both The Royal Ballet and The Royal Opera, brand new work available to stream online, and the world's first opera in hyper-reality.
There will be performances on the Main Stage, the smaller Linbury Theatre, as well as events streamed online as part of the #OurHouseToYourHouse programme. More details, including casting and booking dates, will be announced on 13 April.
The Royal Ballet returns with three programmes of works ranging from Crystal Pite to Marius Petipa. Opening in May with a programme of 21st Century works, including Christopher Wheeldon's Within the Golden Hour and two works new to The Royal Ballet by Crystal Pite. Pite's ability to speak meaningfully about the human condition through dance was captured in The Royal Ballet's 2017 Olivier-award-winning commission Flight Pattern, and the opportunity for audiences and performers to engage with her work again comes at no better time after an enforced period of absence from the stage.
The Company also presents a series of digital content, including Meet the Young Dancers on 19 March, a streamed Insight event introducing this Season's Aud Jebsen Young Dancers and the 2020/21 Prix de Lausanne Dancer. Rising choreographic talent will also be featured with an online premiere in early May of Draft Works, The Royal Ballet's showcase of new ideas and creativity in dance from within the Company.
The Royal Opera brings together an international group of distinguished singers to perform Mozart's opera seria, La clemenza di Tito, in a new production directed by Richard Jones, designed by Olivier-award winning Ultz to meet the requirements of staging a show in the current public health environment, and performed under the baton of Mark Wigglesworth.
Alex Beard, Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House, says:
It is incredibly exciting that we will soon be opening our doors and welcoming audiences back to our beautiful Covent Garden home. We can't wait to bring life back to our stages and the joy of live performance back to our audiences, and I am delighted that we can go back to doing what we do best: performing the world's best ballet and opera to audiences at home and around the globe.
The ROH also announces the re-opening of the world's first opera in hyper reality: Current, Rising, a collaboration between the Royal Opera House's innovation programme, Audience Labs, award-winning Figment Productions and Royal Holloway, University of London. Developed by a female-led creative team, the 15-minute hyper-reality opera experience combines virtual reality with a multisensory set, inviting audiences to step into a bespoke ‘Opera Tardis' and experience a dream-like journey carried musically by a poem layered in song.
Before booking opens on 13 April, The Royal Opera has revealed that on Friday 9 April it will be live streaming its first fully staged production since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic with a new double bill of Bertolt Brecht's and Kurt Weill's, The Seven Deadly Sins and Mahagonny Songspiel. Directed by British director Isabelle Kettle, soloists of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme will perform Weill's satirical double-bill with British-Cypriot conductor Michael Papadopoulos and with choreography from Julia Cheng. This production will be available to online audiences only.
For both La clemenza de Tito and The Royal Ballet's mixed programmes, audiences will be able to buy tickets for a socially-distanced live experience, or buy an online ticket to watch online wherever they are in the world. More details on The Royal Opera's The Seven Deadly Sins and Mahagonny Songspiel double bill will be announced on 29 March.
Top photo: David Donnelly and Teo Dubreuil Within the Golden Hour, Photo Tristram Kenton ROH 2019
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.