Director Stephen Langridge and Designer Alison Chitty on Parsifal (The Royal Opera)
Director Stephen Langridge and designer Alison Chitty talk about their Royal Opera production of Richard Wagner's Parsifal. The creative team talk about the process of staging Richard Wagner's final masterpiece.
The creative team behind The Royal Opera's production of The Minotaur, director Stephen Langridge and designer Alison Chitty, bring a new staging of Parsifal to Covent Garden. Parsifal, Wagner's final opera, was first given at Bayreuth in 1882. For many years, at the insistence of Wagner and then his widow Cosima, performances outside the Bayreuth Festival were banned. This embargo was lifted in January 1914; by August of the same year Parsifal had been performed at more than fifty opera houses throughout Europe.
Wagner loosely based the opera on scenes from Wolfram von Eschenbach's medieval romance Parzifal. The score contrasts the sacred with the sensual, from the stark magnificence of the music for the procession to the Grail Hall in Act I to the richly orchestrated scene in which Kundry attempts to seduce Parsifal in Act II. There are sections of almost unearthly beauty such as the Act I Prologue, the Good Friday music in Act III, and the closing scene of the opera, in which Parsifal reveals the Grail to the knights.
Don Giovanni - Kasper Holten's Video Diary #1: Beginnings
The first installation of Director Kasper Holten's video diary series following The Royal Opera's new production of Mozart's Don Giovanni http://www.roh.org.uk/productions/don-giovanni-by-kasper-holten
In this episode Kasper introduces the series which will see him document the process of producing an opera with one of the world's top opera companies. Though it opens on 1 February 2014, in fact the production process started two years ago with planning and designing well underway years before opening night.
Mozart's Don Giovanni -- first staged in 1787 -- offers boundless scope for directors. Kasper Holten offers a new interpretation that foregrounds the theme of imagination. Don Giovanni is cast as an artist who seduces an endless stream of women through his ability to create wonderful illusions. His catalogue of sexual conquests is a vain attempt to escape his own mortality and comes at a high price.
Holten presents an exciting visual universe that ranges from colourful comedy to exhilarating drama. Set designs by Es Devlin -- who was most recently at Covent Garden with Les Troyens -- and costume designs by Anja Vang Kragh (Stella McCartney, John Galliano, Christian Dior) complete an impressive creative team. The production highlights the beauty and invention of Mozart's dazzling score, which ranges from gorgeous arias and dramatic duets to the brilliant layering of dance melodies that bring Act I to a virtuoso close.
Carmen: Habanera (The Royal Opera)
Spanish heat and gypsy passion are brought to the stage in Francesca Zambello's vivid production of Bizet's opera: http://www.roh.org.uk/carmen
The Habanera is the aria Carmen sings when she first appears on stage, it is also known as 'L'amour est un oiseau rebelle'.
Carmen was based on a popular novella of the same name by Prosper Mérimée, which enticed French readers with exotic tales of Spain. Its heady combination of passion, sensuality and violence initially proved too much for the stage and Georges Bizet's opera was a critical failure on its premiere in 1875. Bizet died shortly after, never learning of the spectacular success Carmen would achieve -- it has been staged over 500 times at Covent Garden alone.
Carmen contains many well-loved numbers, such as Carmen's seductive Habanera and Escamillo's rousing Toreador's song, in which he celebrates the thrill of the bullfight. Richly coloured designs capture the sultry heat of the Spanish sun, while ranks of soldiers, crowds of peasants, gypsies and bullfighters bring 19th-century Seville alive. This combination of memorable music, vivid setting and dramatic story have made Carmen one of the most popular operas in the world.
Brand New Ancients trailer
Poet and rapper Kate Tempest performs her epic story of everyday heroes, winner of the 2013 Ted Hughes Poetry Award. http://www.roh.org.uk/ancients
Preparations for The Nutcracker (The Royal Ballet)
Royal Ballet Dancer, Gary Avis takes us on a journey through the Royal Opera House and into rehearsals with Peter Wright as the dancers and staff prepare for The Nutcracker. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/nutcracker
The Royal Ballet from the perspective of a pointe shoe
Each Season our Royal Ballet dancers use about 6,000 pairs of pointe shoes and 6,000 pairs of flats. Please support The Royal Ballet today: http://www.roh.org.uk/pointe
Combined with the character shoes, elastic, ribbons and detailing relevant to each production, the total cost for footwear is over £250,000 a year. Footwear is essential to ballet, enabling our dancers to give their best performances.
The Sleeping Beauty trailer (The Royal Ballet)
Journey with The Royal Ballet to an enchanted world of princesses, fairy godmothers and magic spells in Petipa's classic ballet. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/sleepingbeauty
Marius Petipa's classic 19th-century choreography is combined with newly created sections by Frederick Ashton, Anthony Dowell and Christopher Wheeldon. The ballet contains many memorable moments, from the iconic Rose Adagio, when Aurora meets her four royal suitors, to the vigorous hunting dances and the famous waltz for Aurora and her Prince. Throughout, Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky's score conveys passion and intensity.
Director Natalie Abrahami on How the Whale Became (The Royal Opera)
Director Natalie Abrahami on transforming Ted Hughes's magical stories into an enchanting family opera. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/whale
How the Whale Became will have its world premiere tomorrow night (Friday 6 December). Julian Philips's opera, directed by Natalie Abrahami with a libretto by Edward Kemp, is based on Ted Hughes's short stories The Dreamfighter and Other Creation Tales.The magical collection charts how God created the world and the animals that inhabit it.
Parsifal trailer (The Royal Opera)
Wagner's final great masterpiece returns to Covent Garden in an inventive new staging by Stephen Langridge. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/parsifal
Giselle trailer (The Royal Ballet)
The greatest of all Romantic ballets, Peter Wright's production of Marius Petipa's classic is a tale of betrayal, supernatural spirits and love that transcends death. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/giselle
The role of Giselle provides a dancer with many technical and dramatic challenges, from the character's early love to her poignant descent into madness and final gesture of forgiveness from beyond the grave. The first act of the ballet is filled with historical detail and rustic colour. By contrast, the second act (known as the White Act) plunges the audience into an eerie moonlit forest haunted by the ethereal Wilis -- vengeful spirits of young brides who died before their wedding day. With its combination of memorable story and exquisite choreography, Giselle is the perfect way to discover classical ballet.
Manon Trailer (The Royal Opera)
A young girl longing for love is corrupted by wealth and luxury in Massenet's classic opera, directed by Laurent Pelly.
Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/productions/manon-by-laurent-pelly
Manon and the young student Des Grieux fall passionately in love. But Manon longs for riches, excitement and luxury. When the nobleman De Brétigny offers to make her his mistress, she finds it hard to resist.
Carlos Acosta stars in his first feature film, Day of the Flowers
Actress Eva Birthistle discusses working with Royal Ballet Principal Guest Artist Carlos Acosta in Day of the Flowers, a comedy directed by John Roberts.
The film follows two young, strong-willed Scottish sisters, one a left-wing activist, the other a born-to-shop fashionista, who take their late father's ashes to Cuba. There, they meet Cuban dancer-turned-tour-guide Tomas and experience a series of of misadventures - both romantic and dangerous.
With thanks to Kate Burns for editing footage and Director Jessica Kelly.
Find out more at http://dayoftheflowers.com/home.htm
Parsifal: Interview with Gerald Finley and Simon O'Neill (The Royal Opera)
International stars Gerald Finley and Simon O'Neill talk to Sara Mohr-Pietsch about being part of The Royal Opera's new production of Parsifal.
Simon reveals how he likens Parsifal being kissed by Kundry to suddenly downloading 32GB of data and Gerald discusses the physicality of his role as Amfortas.
Find out more www.roh.org.uk/parsifal
How the Whale Became trailer (The Royal Opera)
Ted Hughes's magical stories are transformed into a captivating new Royal Opera commission by Julian Philips and Edward Kemp. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/whale
Have you ever wondered why whales are so huge? Why foxes are crafty or why polar bears have white coats? The answers to all these questions and more are found in this enchanting family opera by composer Julian Philips and librettist Edward Kemp, based on Ted Hughes's well-loved story collection The Dreamfighter and Other Creation Tales.
The Rite of Spring - interview
Deborah MacMillan and Monica Mason describe how Kenneth MacMillan's production of The Rite of Spring came to fruition. Featuring performance from the Chance to Dance company - a group of 9-10 year olds who took of the challenge of performing the work.
Interviewed by Tom Nelson.
Production photography by Johan Persson.
The Rite of Spring in rehearsal (The Royal Ballet)
In 1962, a 20-year-old Monica Mason was plucked from the corps de ballet to dance The Chosen One in Kenneth MacMillan's The Rite of Spring. In 2013, a 20-year-old Claudia Dean finds herself in the same situation.
Watch Monica and Claudia explore the final solo from the ballet which sees The Chosen One dance herself to death.
With pianists Rob Clark and Philip Cornfield
Mark Elder introduces Wozzeck (The Royal Opera)
Conductor Mark Elder introduces Alban Berg's masterpiece Wozzeck. The opera is based on the incomplete play Woyzeck by Georg Büchner. It was given its premiere in 1925 in Berlin and rapidly became extremely successful.
With singer James Cleverton and pianist Geoffrey Paterson.
Translation by Jonathan Burton.