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On Monday 7 January, the Royal Opera House will offer an unprecedented glimpse into life behind the scenes for The Royal Opera streamed live on The Space and the Guardian websites.
Royal Opera Live follows the success of Royal Ballet Live in March 2012. Royal Ballet Live was watched by more than 200,000 people on the day with a further one million views since.
Royal Opera Live will showcase a full working day for The Royal Opera, and feature live rehearsals with both the Royal Opera Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. Highlights will include footage of work backstage, interviews with some of the finest singers, directors, designers and conductors in the world today including Rolando Villazón, John Tomlinson, Stephen Langridge, Simon Keenlyside and Ryan Wigglesworth - and much more.
The day will conclude with an exclusive look at all the action that occurs behind the scenes during a live performance. Viewers will be able to experience Act III from Die Walküre, pre-recorded earlier in the Season, as never before, made possible by support from Deloitte as part of the ongoing collaboration with the Royal Opera House. Twenty-one cameras positioned in unique locations capture all the action; from above the stage to the trap door, from the orchestra pit to the wings. This footage reveals aspects of putting on this wonderful act – from the famous ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ to Wotan’s putting his beloved daughter to sleep, surrounded by a ring of fire – that the audience never usually gets to see. The superb cast include Bryn Terfel as Wotan and Susan Bullock singing the role of Brünnhilde.
Presented by Suzy Klein with commentary from the director of The Royal Opera’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, Keith Warner, there will be three different streams available on The Space for Act III of Die Walküre. Audiences can choose to watch the act from the perspective of backstage, with the stage manager’s calls, technical cues and all the stage technology in action behind the scenes, or choose the conductor camera on Antonio Pappano in the pit, or a wide-angle of the onstage action, marking a first for online opera streaming. On The Space, audiences can switch from one live stream to another by clicking on the video thumbnails. In addition, The Space audiences can pause, rewind and replay the live performance as well as watch all the action again over the following 48 hours. The full Die Walküre coverage will then be available for a month after the event and extended highlights will be available for six months.
Royal Opera Live will feature glimpses into stage rehearsals from The Minotaur, a chorus music call for our new production of Nabucco and rehearsals for Director of Opera Kasper Holten’s new production of Eugene Onegin, his first production for The Royal Opera. Associate Director John Fulljames will present a model showing of his new production of La donna del lago, giving the audience an exclusive glimpse into what it will look like, including set and costume designs. There will be a unique opportunity to see a vocal masterclass given by Music Director Antonio Pappano working with a singer currently on the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme. Audiences will also be able to follow the preshow preparations of world renowned tenor Rolando Villazón before he takes to the stage that evening as Rodolfo in La bohème. There will be another chance to see Rolando a week later when La bohème is broadcast in cinemas worldwide on 15 January 2013.
Kasper Holten will introduce the day at 10.30am by showing audiences some of his ideas for his new production of Eugene Onegin, together with cast members including Simon Keenlyside and Krassimira Stoyanova. Later on in the day there will be an opportunity to see a dance rehearsal for Eugene Onegin with choreographer Signe Fabricius.
Audiences can participate and are encouraged to tweet questions to be asked live on air. In the run up to Royal Opera Live, people are being invited to submit videos of themselves, either solo or in a group, singing ‘Va pensiero’ (also known as the chorus of the Hebrew Slaves) from Act III of Nabucco. There will be a video tutorial available on the Royal Opera House website before the day, providing helpful hints, the downloadable Italian text and instructions as to how to upload your own video, which can be done via YouTube. A selection of entrants will have their video broadcast as part of Royal Opera Live, and more videos can be entered throughout the day, encouraging as many people around the world as possible to join in with the singing.
Kasper Holten, Director of The Royal Opera, said ‘I’m thrilled we’re opening up our doors to the world through The Space and the Guardian websites. I think people will be amazed by how much goes on in one single day for The Royal Opera, and how many people are involved – not just those in the rehearsal rooms but the hundreds of people behind the scenes whose contribution is equally vital to the finished performance on stage. What I love about these days is the possibility for people from all over the world to get involved with us, ask questions and interact with what is going on here in real time through digital technology.
‘I hope that as many people as possible will join us on the day, and if they can’t be online as it’s happening, that they’ll take the opportunity to catch up afterwards on YouTube.’
Peter Maniura, Curator of The Space, commented ‘The Space is thrilled to be offering our audiences a unique insight into the working life of one of the world’s great opera houses. The Royal Opera has given us unparalleled access to its rehearsals and its artists. To be able to glimpse Antonio Pappano , Rolando Villazón, Harrison Birtwistle, Kasper Holten and many others at work will be a unique privilege and the day climaxes with a first for The Space – Act III of Wagner’s Die Walküre with all the mechanics of its wondrous backstage world opened up with 21 cameras and a viewer choice of three separate streams of video during the performance.’