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Royal Opera House

The Royal Opera House houses the UK’s leading Opera and Ballet companies, and plays host to a wide range of visiting companies and artists.  Through its programme on the main stage, in the Linbury Studio, the Clore Studio and in spaces throughout the building it presents many forms of classical and contemporary opera and dance. Our funding is a contribution towards its core costs.

Funding awards

  • 2012-2013: £25,208,100
  • 2013-2014: £25,787,886
  • 2014-2015: £26,430,076

Video feed

Royal Opera House Autumn 2014 - Life Reimagined promo

Find out what's on at http://www.roh.org.uk The Royal Ballet opens the Autumn Season with Kenneth MacMillan’s masterful Manon. Highlights for The Royal Opera include Plácido Domingo in Verdi’s dark political tragedy I due Foscari and - in a new collaboration with the Roundhouse - Monteverdi’s Orfeo. The Royal Opera, under the direction of Antonio Pappano, is one of the world’s leading opera companies. Based in the iconic Covent Garden theatre, it is renowned both for its outstanding performances of traditional opera and for commissioning new works by today’s leading opera composers, such as Harrison Birtwistle, Mark-Anthony Turnage and Thomas Adès. The Royal Ballet, led by Director Kevin O'Hare, is Britain’s largest ballet company. The Company has a wide-ranging repertory showcasing the great classical ballets, heritage works from Founder Choreographer Frederick Ashton and Principal Choreographer Kenneth MacMillan, as well as new works by the foremost choreographers of today.

A unique glimpse of Robert Carsen's Dialogues des Carmélites (The Royal Opera)

A unique glimpse of Robert Carsen's award-winning production of Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmélites, shot and directed by film-maker Felipe Sanguinetti. http://www.roh.org.uk/productions/dialogues-des-carmelites-by-robert-carsen The production assembled the largest cast ever seen on the Covent Garden stage: 14 principals, 60 Royal Opera Chorus, 26 actors and 67 volunteers from the community ensemble. Felipe shot the film over several days, filming backstage from the wings of the theatre, the flys, the orchestra pit and the auditorium. *** The terror and turbulence of the French Revolution provides the backdrop for Francis Poulenc’s powerful opera of faith, bravery and redemption. Poulenc created the libretto for Dialogues des Carmélites after a play of the same name by writer Georges Bernanos and the opera was given its premiere at La Scala, Milan, in 1957. It arrived at Covent Garden the following year, with a cast that featured Dame Joan Sutherland in the role of the courageous Mother Marie of the Incarnation. Director Robert Carsen – who staged Falstaff at the Royal Opera House in 2012 – brings his intense and daring production of Dialogues des Carmélites to The Royal Opera for the first time. The starkly beautiful staging combines modern designs and period costumes with stunning lighting effects. It throws into relief Poulenc’s radiant and exhilarating score, which draws on the resources of a large orchestra (including two harps, a piano and even a guillotine). Dialogues des Carmélites culminates in one of opera’s most devastating final scenes, as Blanche embraces death with her fellow nuns to a transcendent setting of the hymn Salve Regina hymn.

An extract of Frederick Ashton's Monotones II (The Royal Ballet)

Royal Ballet Principals Edward Watson, Marianela Nuñez and Nehemiah Kish perform Frederick Ashton's Monotones II. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/productions/monotones-i-and-ii-by-frederick-ashton Frederick Ashton distilled the exquisite tranquility of Erik Satie’s pieces in Monotones I and II, which display some of his most modernist choreography. Monotones II was created first and given its premiere at the Royal Opera House in 1965, accompanied by Satie’s Trois Gymnopédies. Ashton created a second piece to Satie’s Trois Gnossiennes (Monotones I), and the two were presented together the following year. Satie’s Préludes d’Eginhard was played as an overture. Monotones I opens with a slow, serene pas de trois in a wonderful example of adagio classicism. The dancers remain on stage throughout the entire work, with their smooth lines of movement unbroken. Monotones II features another pas de trois that mirrors the controlled movements of the first. Satie’s delicate music, coupled with Ashton’s beautiful choreography, is wonderfully haunting. http://www.roh.org.uk/people/edward-watson http://www.roh.org.uk/people/marianela-nunez http://www.roh.org.uk/people/nehemiah-kish

Juan Diego Flórez - 'Ecco, ridente in cielo' (Il barbiere di Siviglia, The Royal Opera)

Juan Diego Flórez as Count Almaviva in Act I of Gioachino Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville). Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/barbiere The 23-year-old Gioachino Rossini completed his masterpiece Il barbiere di Siviglia incredibly quickly – legend has it in just 13 days – which Rossini attributed to ‘facility and lots of instinct’. He drew on Pierre-Augustin Beaumarchais’ play Le Barbier de Seville – part of a dramatic trilogy that also inspired Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro. The opera is characterized by youthful energy and bold wit: qualities brought to the fore in Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s colourful production. Il barbiere di Siviglia has all the ingredients for comic chaos: an imprisoned young woman, her lecherous guardian and a young noble suitor. Skilfully plotting behind the scenes is Figaro – an irrepressible and inventive character in whom many have seen a resemblance to the young Rossini himself. The score fizzes with musical brilliance, from Figaro’s famous entrance aria ‘Largo al factotum’ to the frenzy of the Act I finale, when the five principal voices pile on top of each other. Within a few decades of its 1816 premiere, Il barbiere di Siviglia had been toured round the world, reaching opera houses in New York, Buenos Aires, Trinidad and Ecuador. It has remained one of the most prominent and popular operas in the repertory.

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'PARTAY!' from Anna Nicole (The Royal Opera)

Eva-Maria Westbroek as Anna Nicole and Gerald Finley as Stern from Act II of Mark-Anthony Turnage's opera Anna Nicole. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/annanicole A small-town waitress decides to become a stripper, weds an octogenarian billionaire and becomes a Playboy model and celebrity. But as her fame grows, so does the exploitative behaviour of those close to her, the intrusiveness of the media and her own dependence on drink and pills. The flamboyant life and tragic death of Anna Nicole Smith inspired Mark-Anthony Turnage’s opera, commissioned by The Royal Opera and first performed in 2011. The razor-sharp libretto is by Richard Thomas, co-creator of Jerry Springer: the Opera. Richard Jones’s Olivier-nominated production mixes comedy and tragedy, and boldly confronts the nature of modern celebrity culture. The music fuses jazz, blues and music theatre with more traditional operatic language. Highlights include Anna’s wedding scene, in which she declares her intention to live the ‘American Dream’; a rowdy party, complete with jazz trio; an Expressionist interlude showing the decline of Anna’s fortunes; the long, hopeless list of pills sung by Anna's son Daniel; and Anna’s poignant final lament sung over Daniel's dead body.

Joyce DiDonato and Juan Diego Flórez - Il barbiere di Siviglia Act I finale (The Royal Opera)

Joyce DiDonato as Rosina, Juan Diego Flórez as Count Almaviva and Pietro Spagnoli in Act I of Rossini's opera Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville). Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/barbiere The 23-year-old Gioachino Rossini completed his masterpiece Il barbiere di Siviglia incredibly quickly – legend has it in just 13 days – which Rossini attributed to ‘facility and lots of instinct’. He drew on Pierre-Augustin Beaumarchais’ play Le Barbier de Seville – part of a dramatic trilogy that also inspired Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro. The opera is characterized by youthful energy and bold wit: qualities brought to the fore in Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s colourful production. Il barbiere di Siviglia has all the ingredients for comic chaos: an imprisoned young woman, her lecherous guardian and a young noble suitor. Skilfully plotting behind the scenes is Figaro – an irrepressible and inventive character in whom many have seen a resemblance to the young Rossini himself. The score fizzes with musical brilliance, from Figaro’s famous entrance aria ‘Largo al factotum’ to the frenzy of the Act I finale, when the five principal voices pile on top of each other. Within a few decades of its 1816 premiere, Il barbiere di Siviglia had been toured round the world, reaching opera houses in New York, Buenos Aires, Trinidad and Ecuador. It has remained one of the most prominent and popular operas in the repertory.

Royal Ballet dancers rehearse Deloitte Ignite dance film

Royal Ballet dancers Claire Calvert and Eric Underwood rehearse with Charlotte Edmonds for her Greek myth-inspired dance film for Deloitte Ignite 2014. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/about/deloitte-ignite The film will be shown as part of Sampling the Myth, and will be streamed live on the ROH website and YouTube channel on 6 September at 6.50pm BST. Join us for a month of Myth with the award-winning Deloitte Ignite, the annual contemporary arts festival at the Royal Opera House. Curated by The Royal Ballet and The National Gallery’s Minna Moore Ede, this year's festival is a feast of dance and visual art. Charlotte Edmond's dance film is based on W.B. Yeats's poetic take on the myth of Leda and the Swan. The month-long festival celebrates and explores the origin of myth and creation through dance, visual art, film, music and movement. The festival focusses on two archetypal myths: Prometheus, the Titan who creates man from clay and steals fire from the Gods, and Leda and the Swan, the mysterious conjunction of a mortal woman and the god Zeus, disguised as a swan. Deloitte Ignite 2014 begins with a weekend filled with free and ticketed events and continues over four weeks with performance, film, art installations, discussion and live-streaming, culminating in a free Deloitte Ignite Family Day offering a wide variety of family activities and workshops, as well as space to relax.

Drug Ballad from Anna Nicole (The Royal Opera)

Dominic Rowntree as Anna's son Daniel and Eva-Maria Westbroek in the title role from Act II of Mark-Anthony Turnage's opera Anna Nicole. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/news/anna-nicole-musical-highlight-daniels-drug-ballad A small-town waitress decides to become a stripper, weds an octogenarian billionaire and becomes a Playboy model and celebrity. But as her fame grows, so does the exploitative behaviour of those close to her, the intrusiveness of the media and her own dependence on drink and pills. The flamboyant life and tragic death of Anna Nicole Smith inspired Mark-Anthony Turnage’s opera, commissioned by The Royal Opera and first performed in 2011. The razor-sharp libretto is by Richard Thomas, co-creator of Jerry Springer: the Opera. Richard Jones’s Olivier-nominated production mixes comedy and tragedy, and boldly confronts the nature of modern celebrity culture. The music fuses jazz, blues and music theatre with more traditional operatic language. Highlights include Anna’s wedding scene, in which she declares her intention to live the ‘American Dream’; a rowdy party, complete with jazz trio; an Expressionist interlude showing the decline of Anna’s fortunes; the long, hopeless list of pills sung by Anna's son Daniel; and Anna’s poignant final lament sung over Daniel's dead body.

Il barbiere di Siviglia trailer (The Royal Opera)

Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s production of Rossini’s sparkling comedy is full of wit and energy. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/barbiere The 23-year-old Gioachino Rossini completed his masterpiece Il barbiere di Siviglia incredibly quickly – legend has it in just 13 days – which Rossini attributed to ‘facility and lots of instinct’. He drew on Pierre-Augustin Beaumarchais’ play Le Barbier de Seville – part of a dramatic trilogy that also inspired Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro. The opera is characterized by youthful energy and bold wit: qualities brought to the fore in Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s colourful production. Il barbiere di Siviglia has all the ingredients for comic chaos: an imprisoned young woman, her lecherous guardian and a young noble suitor. Skilfully plotting behind the scenes is Figaro – an irrepressible and inventive character in whom many have seen a resemblance to the young Rossini himself. The score fizzes with musical brilliance, from Figaro’s famous entrance aria ‘Largo al factotum’ to the frenzy of the Act I finale, when the five principal voices pile on top of each other. Within a few decades of its 1816 premiere, Il barbiere di Siviglia had been toured round the world, reaching opera houses in New York, Buenos Aires, Trinidad and Ecuador. It has remained one of the most prominent and popular operas in the repertory.

Aakash Odedra rehearses with Royal Ballet dancers for Deloitte Ignite

Dancer-choreographer Aakash Odedra on the themes of myth and creating work with Royal Ballet dancers and artist Chris Ofili for Deloitte Ignite 2014. http://www.roh.org.uk/about/deloitte-ignite The piece will be shown as part of Sampling the Myth, and will be streamed live on the ROH website and YouTube channel on 6 September at 6.50pm BST. Deloitte Ignite is an annual contemporary arts festival held at the Royal Opera House. In 2014, it is curated by The Royal Ballet and The National Gallery's Minna Moore Ede, and celebrates the origin of stories through the telling of myths. The festival will focus on two archetypal myths: Leda and the Swan, the seduction of Leda by Zeus while disguised as a swan; and Prometheus, the Titan who creates man from clay and steals fire from the Gods.

Thaddeus Strassberger on Glare - ‘I’ve never done a robot opera before’ (The Royal Opera)

Director Thaddeus Strassberger on his new operatic thriller, Glare. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/glare Søren Nils Eichberg, winner of the prestigious Queen Elisabeth Competition and Danish National Symphony Orchestra's first composer in residence, has won widespread acclaim for his orchestral and chamber music. These include his award-winning Qilaatersorneq (2001) and the symphonies 'Stürtzen wir uns ins Feuer' (2005) and 'Before Heaven, Before Earth' (2010). All his music is characterized by a powerful rhythmic drive and rich orchestral colour. Glare is Eichberg's much-anticipated Royal Opera debut. German poet Hannah Dügben provides an original libretto that explores a tense web of human relationships. Thaddeus Strassberger, director of The Royal Opera's production of I due Foscari, joins a creative team of his regular collaborators, designer Madeleine Boyd and lighting designer Matt Haskins (whose joint credits include Opera North's Don Giovanni).

Philip Glass on The Trial and the composing 'tricks' he uses when writing

Composer Philip Glass on his latest collaboration with Christopher Hampton and Music Theatre Wales, an opera adaptation of Franz Kafka's black comedy, The Trial. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/productions/the-trial-by-michael-mccarthy The Trial is Philip Glass's second 'pocket' opera based on the writings of Franz Kafka, and his first work created specifically for Music Theatre Wales, in celebration of the company's 25th birthday. Glass has a long relationship with the company, describing them as 'wonderful to work with… they seem to like these "odd" pieces of mine, and they do them very well. I think of my pocket operas as neutron bombs – small, but packing a terrific punch'. Glass has won worldwide acclaim for his operas, which include Satyagraha and Einstein on the Beach. Music Theatre Wales gave a sell-out tour in 2010 of Glass's previous Kafka opera, In the Penal Colony, a work of blistering intensity and dark claustrophobia. Playwright and screenwriter Christopher Hampton (whose opera credits include Glass's Appomattox) collaborates with Glass on this adaptation of one of the great classics of 20th-century literature. Philip Glass is one of the most popular living composers. He has written prolifically for the stage, his vast catalogue of works including several ballets and more than twenty operas. The Linbury Studio Theatre has been the site of two UK premieres of Glass chamber operas, with The Royal Opera producing Orphée in 2005 and Music Theatre Wales In the Penal Colony in 2010. In the 2014/15 Season MTW gives the world premiere of Glass's chamber opera The Trial in the Linbury. Glass grew up in Baltimore and studied at the University of Chicago, the Juilliard School, in Aspen with Darius Milhaud and in Europe with Nadia Boulanger and Ravi Shankar. In 1967 he formed the Philip Glass Ensemble in New York. He has since become one of the most prominent figures in contemporary music, renowned for developing a style of music based on immersive, repetitive structures. He presents lectures, workshops and solo keyboard performances around the world, continues to appear frequently with the Philip Glass Ensemble and has created collaborations with figures including David Bowie, Allen Ginsberg, Woody Allen, Paul Simon, Yo-Yo Ma, Doris Lessing and Twyla Tharp. Glass's many large-scale operas include Satyagraha and Einstein on the Beach; he has created many soundtracks for film, including the influential Koyaanisqatsi and the award-winning The Hours; and additionally his works are widely popular in the concert hall and in theatre, dance and popular music.

Joyce DiDonato on performing with a broken leg in Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Royal Opera)

When Joyce DiDonato broke her leg performing Rosina on the opening night of Il barbiere di Siviglia in 2009, it didn't look likely she would be able to continue. However, she managed to perform the role in every performance from a wheelchair. http://www.roh.org.uk/productions/il-barbiere-di-siviglia-by-moshe-leiser http://www.roh.org.uk/people/joyce-didonato *** The 23-year-old Gioachino Rossini completed his masterpiece Il barbiere di Siviglia incredibly quickly – legend has it in just 13 days – which Rossini attributed to ‘facility and lots of instinct’. He drew on Pierre-Augustin Beaumarchais’ play Le Barbier de Seville – part of a dramatic trilogy that also inspired Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro. The opera is characterized by youthful energy and bold wit: qualities brought to the fore in Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s colourful production. Il barbiere di Siviglia has all the ingredients for comic chaos: an imprisoned young woman, her lecherous guardian and a young noble suitor. Skilfully plotting behind the scenes is Figaro – an irrepressible and inventive character in whom many have seen a resemblance to the young Rossini himself. The score fizzes with musical brilliance, from Figaro’s famous entrance aria ‘Largo al factotum’ to the frenzy of the Act I finale, when the five principal voices pile on top of each other. Within a few decades of its 1816 premiere, Il barbiere di Siviglia had been toured round the world, reaching opera houses in New York, Buenos Aires, Trinidad and Ecuador. It has remained one of the most prominent and popular operas in the repertory.

Plácido Domingo and Liudmyla Monastyrska - 'Donna, chi sei?' from Nabucco (The Royal Opera)

Plácido Domingo and Liudmyla Monastyrska perform 'Donna, chi sei?' from Verdi's Nabucco. The Royal Opera 2013. http://www.roh.org.uk/productions/nabucco-by-daniele-abbado Following the spectacular failure of his second opera, Un giorno di regno, Giuseppe Verdi vowed never to compose another. But he was lured back to the theatre by Bartolomeo Merelli, the impresario of La Scala, Milan, with the commission for Nabucco. The resulting opera was a triumph – first performed in 1842, it was revived the same year with a run of 57 shows. As Verdi wrote: ‘with this opera, it can truly be said that my artistic career began.’ Daniele Abbado’s production is set in the second half of the 20th century and makes imaginative use of large-scale video projections to accompany and reflect the action on stage. An enormous chorus lends weight to epic numbers such as ‘Immenso Jehova’ – the Hebrew Slaves’ triumphant hymn of thanksgiving – and their song of exile, ‘Va, pensiero’, which is considered by many to be Italy’s unofficial national anthem. There are wonderful bass and baritone roles in the figures of Nabucco, the Babylonian King (based on the biblical King Nebuchadnezzar), and Zaccaria, the Hebrew prophet. And in Abigaille, Verdi created a memorable anti-heroine, at once terrifying and pitiable. Throughout, the score blends rhythmic vitality and powerful drama, and is on a scale that does justice to the opera’s epic themes.

Kristen McNally rehearses her new dance piece for BalletBoyz: theTALENT for Deloitte Ignite 2014

Royal Ballet Soloist Kristen McNally discusses choreographing for BalletBoyz: theTALENT, and develops her work in rehearsals for the Deloitte Ignite Festival 2014: http://www.roh.org.uk/about/deloitte-ignite Deloitte Ignite is an annual contemporary arts festival held at the Royal Opera House. In 2014, it is curated by The Royal Ballet and The National Gallery's Minna Moore Ede, and celebrates the origin of stories through the telling of myths. The festival will focus on two archetypal myths: Leda and the Swan, the seduction of Leda by Zeus while disguised as a swan; and Prometheus, the Titan who creates man from clay and steals fire from the Gods. BalletBoyz: theTALENT will perform work by Kristen in a mixed programme in the Linbury Studio Theatre in September. http://www.roh.org.uk/productions/balletboyz-thetalent Kristen is working with Royal Ballet First Artist Hayley Forskitt and Royal Ballet Artist Matthew Ball. http://www.roh.org.uk/people/kristen-mcnally http://www.roh.org.uk/people/hayley-forskitt http://www.roh.org.uk/people/matthew-ball

Hanna Hipp performs an extract from Poulenc's Eight Polish Songs (The Royal Opera)

Jette Parker Young Artist Hanna Hipp performs an extract from Poulenc's Eight Polish Songs at a lunchtime recital, accompanied by JPYAP Artistic Director David Gowland. http://www.roh.org.uk/people/hanna-hipp Hanna, a mezzo-soprano, was a member of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme in the 2011/12 and 2012/13 Seasons. The regular free lunchtime recitals feature the rising stars of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme, members of the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and The Royal Opera Chorus and Southbank Sinfonia. Tickets for the lunchtime concerts are FREE. A proportion of tickets can be reserved online 9 days before the concert date. http://www.roh.org.uk/recitals/lunchtime-recitals Mezzo-soprano Hanna Hipp was a member of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme in the 2011/12 and 2012/13 Seasons. She made her Royal Opera debut as Emilia (Otello Act IV) in the Plácido Domingo Celebration and has since sung Flora Bervoix and Annina (La traviata), Emilia (Otello), Anna (Les Troyens), Modestina (Il viaggio a Reims), Second Lady (Die Zauberflöte) and Bianca (La rondine). She sang in a staged production of Les Nuits d’été and Jean (Le Portrait le Manon) in Meet the Young Artists Week 2011. Born in Poland, Hipp studied at Stanislaw Moniuszko Academy of Music in Gdansk, and went on to further studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the National Opera Studio. Away from Covent Garden, Hipp’s roles have included Poro (Cleofide) and Amastre (Serse) with Gdánsk Chamber Opera, the title role in Chérubin for the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and in Lucilla (La scala di seta) with British Youth Opera. In concert, she has performed at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, the London Handel Festival and many festivals of 20th-century music in Europe. Her concert repertory includes Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and Magnificat, Handel’s Messiah and Mozart’s Requiem.

Hanna Hipp performs Reflets dans l'eau from Faure's Mirages at a lunchtime recital (The Royal Opera)

Jette Parker Young Artist Hanna Hipp performs Reflets dans l'eau from Faure's Mirages at a lunchtime recital, accompanied by JPYAP Artistic Director David Gowland. http://www.roh.org.uk/people/hanna-hipp Hanna, a mezzo-soprano, was a member of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme in the 2011/12 and 2012/13 Seasons. The regular free lunchtime recitals feature the rising stars of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme, members of the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and The Royal Opera Chorus and Southbank Sinfonia. Tickets for the lunchtime concerts are FREE. A proportion of tickets can be reserved online 9 days before the concert date. http://www.roh.org.uk/recitals/lunchtime-recitals Mezzo-soprano Hanna Hipp was a member of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme in the 2011/12 and 2012/13 Seasons. She made her Royal Opera debut as Emilia (Otello Act IV) in the Plácido Domingo Celebration and has since sung Flora Bervoix and Annina (La traviata), Emilia (Otello), Anna (Les Troyens), Modestina (Il viaggio a Reims), Second Lady (Die Zauberflöte) and Bianca (La rondine). She sang in a staged production of Les Nuits d’été and Jean (Le Portrait le Manon) in Meet the Young Artists Week 2011. Born in Poland, Hipp studied at Stanislaw Moniuszko Academy of Music in Gdansk, and went on to further studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the National Opera Studio. Away from Covent Garden, Hipp’s roles have included Poro (Cleofide) and Amastre (Serse) with Gdánsk Chamber Opera, the title role in Chérubin for the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and in Lucilla (La scala di seta) with British Youth Opera. In concert, she has performed at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, the London Handel Festival and many festivals of 20th-century music in Europe. Her concert repertory includes Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and Magnificat, Handel’s Messiah and Mozart’s Requiem.

Anna Nicole trailer (The Royal Opera)

Sex, celebrity and scandal: Mark-Anthony Turnage's opera draws on the dramatic life and death of Anna Nicole Smith. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/productions/anna-nicole-by-richard-jones A small-town waitress decides to become a stripper, weds an octogenarian billionaire and becomes a Playboy model and celebrity. But as her fame grows, so does the exploitative behaviour of those close to her, the intrusiveness of the media and her own dependence on drink and pills. The flamboyant life and tragic death of Anna Nicole Smith inspired Mark-Anthony Turnage's opera, commissioned by The Royal Opera and first performed in 2011. The razor-sharp libretto is by Richard Thomas, co-creator of Jerry Springer: the Opera. Richard Jones's Olivier-nominated production mixes comedy and tragedy, and boldly confronts the nature of modern celebrity culture. The music fuses jazz, blues and music theatre with more traditional operatic language. Highlights include Anna's wedding scene, in which she declares her intention to live the 'American Dream'; a rowdy party, complete with jazz trio; an Expressionist interlude showing the decline of Anna's fortunes; the long, hopeless list of pills sung by Anna's son Daniel; and Anna's poignant final lament sung over Daniel's dead body.

Wendy Whelan and choreographer Brian Brooks in rehearsal for Restless Creature

Wendy Whelan and choreographer Brian Brooks in rehearsal for the premiere of 'First Fall', part of Restless Creature, at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/productions/wendy-whelan-restless-creature-by-wendy-whelan

Wendy Whelan and choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo in rehearsal for Restless Creature

Wendy Whelan and choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo in rehearsal for the premiere of 'Ego et tu', part of Restless Creature, at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/productions/wendy-whelan-restless-creature-by-wendy-whelan

Wendy Whelan and choreographer Kyle Abraham in rehearsal for Restless Creature

Wendy Whelan and choreographer Kyle Abraham in rehearsal for the premiere of 'The Serpent and the Smoke', part of Restless Creature, at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/productions/wendy-whelan-restless-creature-by-wendy-whelan

Ekaterina Siurina sings 'Caro nome' from Verdi's Rigoletto (The Royal Opera)

Ekaterina Siurina sings Gilda's aria 'Caro nome' from Act I of Verdi's Rigoletto. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/productions/rigoletto-by-david-mcvicar Giuseppe Verdi wrote in 1855 that Rigoletto, based on Victor Hugo’s play Le Roi s’amuse, was his ‘best opera’. He had to overcome state censorship to stage it – the censors objected to its depiction of an immoral ruler – but he was vindicated by the premiere’s huge success in 1851. Rigoletto was performed 250 times in the next 10 years and has remained one of the most popular of all operas. David McVicar’s production highlights the cruelty and degeneracy at the heart of the court of Mantua. Richly dressed courtiers engage in brutal orgies and revelries to Verdi's spirited dances. In contrast, Rigoletto lives in a rundown hovel and laments his unhappy existence in a powerful soliloquy. Along with this and Rigoletto’s Act II aria ‘Cortigiani, vil razza dannata!’, musical highlights include the ebullient ‘La donna è mobile’, in which the Duke boasts of his disregard for women; Gilda’s exquisite duets with Rigoletto and the Duke; and the quartet in Act III that weaves the voices together as the story quickens to its shattering conclusion.

Vittorio Grigolo and Angela Gheorghiu on why they love La bohème (The Royal Opera)

Vittorio Grigolo, Angela Gheorghiu, Massimo Cavalletti and Irina Lungu introduce the main characters of La bohème. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/boheme La bohème had a lukewarm reception at its premiere in 1896, but its fortunes almost immediately changed. Giacomo Puccini's romantic depiction of bohemian Paris, with memorable music and a love story drawn from everyday life, has captivated audiences round the world, making La bohème one of the best-loved of all operas. It was first performed in Covent Garden in 1897 and has had more than 500 performances here since. John Copley's production re-creates Paris in the 1830s, from the lively Latin Quarter, where hawkers and traders ply their wares, to a drafty attic where impoverished artists live hand-to-mouth. Rodolfo and Mimì's love story is given moving expression through Puccini's score, from their first meeting in Act I (a scene which contains some of the composer's most exquisite arias and duets) to their poignant reunion in Act IV. These moments of emotional intensity are contrasted with the colourful spectacle of the Café Momus and surrounding streets in Act II, where Puccini presents a cross-section of Parisian society in all its noise and vibrancy.

Monteverdi's Orfeo: The Roundhouse and The Royal Opera

Marcus Davey, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the Roundhouse, and Kasper Holten, Director of The Royal Opera, introduce Michael Boyd's new production of Monteverdi's Orfeo: http://www.roh.org.uk/productions/orfeo-by-michael-boyd The project is a new collaboration between the Roundhouse and The Royal Opera. The history of great opera begins with the premiere of Claudio Monteverdi's Orfeo on 24 February 1607 in the ducal palace in Mantua. It was Monteverdi's first opera, produced as courtly entertainment for the carnival season. For this 'favola in musica' (story in music) he incorporated existing musical forms, such as madrigals and the newly developed recitative (singing with speech-like rhythms and minimal accompaniment). But the result was revolutionary, possessing a powerful emotional truth that had never been seen before in musical dramas. Orfeo is rightly acclaimed as the first operatic work of art. A new collaboration between the Roundhouse and The Royal Opera, Orfeo follows on from L'Ormindo at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, Shakespeare's Globe, in spring 2014. Former artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company Michael Boyd directs in his operatic debut, with a production that is as much theatrical spectacle as tribute to Monteverdi's musical genius.

Michael McCarthy and Christopher Hampton on The Trial (Music Theatre Wales)

Director Michael McCarthy and playwright and screenwriter Christopher Hampton introduce Philip Glass's new opera based on Kafka's The Trial. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/productions/the-trial-by-michael-mccarthy The Trial is Philip Glass's second 'pocket' opera based on the writings of Franz Kafka, and his first work created specifically for Music Theatre Wales, in celebration of the company's 25th birthday. Glass has a long relationship with the company, describing them as 'wonderful to work with... they seem to like these "odd" pieces of mine, and they do them very well. I think of my pocket operas as neutron bombs -- small, but packing a terrific punch'. Glass has won worldwide acclaim for his operas, which include Satyagraha and Einstein on the Beach. Music Theatre Wales gave a sell-out tour in 2010 of Glass's previous Kafka opera, In the Penal Colony, a work of blistering intensity and dark claustrophobia. Playwright and screenwriter Christopher Hampton (whose opera credits include Glass's Appomattox) collaborates with Glass on this adaptation of one of the great classics of 20th-century literature.

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