The Royal Opera House is delighted to announce that this summer’s free BP Summer Big Screen performances are The Royal Ballet’s Manon and The Royal Opera’s Madam Butterfly and Cinderella. These world-class productions of ballet and opera will be beamed live from Covent Garden to 21 locations up and down the country as part of the highly anticipated programme.

Whether you’re new to ballet and opera or already a devotee, the BP Summer Big Screen relays offer an exciting opportunity to enjoy the very best from the Royal Opera House in a unique setting. The screenings will include exclusive backstage footage, live audience interaction and the chance to win tickets to The Royal Ballet’s The Nutcracker next Season with a night for two at The May Fair Hotel, London.

New for 2011 will be the biggest ‘hum-along’ ever heard across the UK at the Madam Butterfly screening. The Royal Opera House will lead the BP Summer Big Screen audiences in the famous Humming Chorus, a deeply moving and atmospheric part of the opera that will get everyone in the mood for the main feature. In the build up to Cinderella there will be a multimedia trail starting on Twitter, filled with puzzles and tasks for the public to complete in order to help get Cinderella to the ball. To be part of the fairytale follow @mynameiscinders

The Royal Ballet’s Manon will be screened on Wednesday 1 June at 7.30pm, The Royal Opera’s Madam Butterfly on Monday 4 July at 7.30pm and Cinderella on Wednesday 13 July at 7.30pm.

39 screenings are planned for 21 locations across the UK. 16 of the screens are part of the Big Screens BBC collaboration; they are Bradford, Bristol, Derby, Dover, Leicester, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Norwich, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Swansea, Swindon, Waltham Forest and Woolwich, with Belfast and Edinburgh added as new venues this year. The other screens are located in Aberdeen, Ipswich, Purfleet as well as Trafalgar Square and Canary Wharf in London.

Manon - The Royal Ballet - LIVE at 7.30pm on Wednesday 1 June. Presented by Deborah Bull, Creative Director of the Royal Opera House and BBC Presenter Zeb Soanes.

Kenneth MacMillan’s 20th-century masterpiece is a signature work of The Royal Ballet. It follows the all consuming affair of a student, Des Grieux, with the beautiful Manon Lescaut - a story of passion, lechery, violence, devotion and tragedy. Manon’s fickleness in choosing between true love and a life of money and comfort proves the downfall of her and her lover, taking them both from youthful hope in Paris to death in the swamps of Louisiana. The score, rich in melody and emotion, will be conducted by Martin Yates.

Madam Butterfly - The Royal Opera - LIVE at 7.30pm on Monday 4 July. Presented by Deborah Bull, Creative Director of the Royal Opera House and BBC Presenter Zeb Soanes.

A beautiful staging of a favourite opera brings Puccini’s Madam Butterfly back to the Royal Opera House. The story of a Japanese Geisha’s love for an American naval officer moved Puccini to compose music of rare and sensual beauty, but also of heartrending power as the tragedy unfolds to its devastating conclusion. The captivating score will be conducted by Andris Nelsons, acclaimed Patricia Racette appears as the Butterfly of the title, and James Valenti will make a dashing Pinkerton, whose thoughtless toying with love is the catalyst for this classic tragic story.

Cinderella - The Royal Opera - LIVE at 7.30pm on Wednesday 13 July. Presented by Deborah Bull, Creative Director of the Royal Opera House.

For the first time ever, The Royal Opera presents the story of Cinderella as told in Massenet’s opera. This production of Cinderella is filled with wit and elegance to match Massenet’s delightfully tuneful score, featuring sets and costumes of fairytale charm. Musical highlights include the fairy godmother’s airy coloratura, the orchestral dances at the ball, the March of the Princesses, and of course rapturous duets between the Prince and Cinderella. This charming opera will be conducted by French music specialist Bertrand de Billy. Joyce DiDonato takes the title role, with Alice Coote as her Prince Charming. And of course there has to be a fairy godmother, she will be played by Eglise Gutiérrez.

Tony Hall, Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House, said:

“These screenings are a wonderful opportunity for people to get outdoors and experience world-class performances in the open air – and it’s all for free. With the support of BP we’re providing the opportunity for people to enjoy opera and ballet in a range of fantastic venues across the UK, creating unforgettable experiences. Even if you’ve never watched an opera or ballet before, why not invite family and friends along and give it a chance – you could even bring a picnic!”

Deborah Bull, Creative Director of the Royal Opera House, said:

“These annual screens are a highlight of our performing season: they allow us to reach new audiences across the UK and to offer a unique window on our world through live presentation from behind the scenes, specially created films, cast interviews and more. The free BP Summer Big Screens are a great way in to ballet and opera for newcomers - and an absolute treat for anyone who enjoys music and dance.”

Peter Mather, BP’s Regional Vice President for Europe and Head of Country UK, said:

“We are delighted to continue our support of this fantastic initiative enabling thousands of people across the UK to see world class productions of ballet and opera for free.”


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