Feature Preview: Royal Opera House Live Cinema Season 2013/14 [includes Nutcracker, Parsifal, Giselle, Don Giovanni, Sleeping Beauty]

Written by: Colin Anderson

“10 productions, 40 countries, over 1000 cinemas”.

Les Vêpres siciliennes, The Royal Opera

17 September 2013 – The May Fair Hotel, Stratton Street, London W1

We gathered at the above address for a reception to launch “Royal Opera House Live Cinema Season 2013/14”. Chatting, drinking and eating canapés was part of the fun. Sir Antonio Pappano (Music Director, Royal Opera House) made a welcoming speech; and, as he said, there is nothing to match being in the theatre itself. In a nutshell, one can hear everything naturally and look at whatever you wish. In the cinema the eye is at the dictate of the director but compensations include close-ups of the singers and their facial expressions. However, live relays to movie-houses are a terrific option for those many miles away or on a budget.

Turandot, The Royal Opera, September 2013. Photograph: Tristram Kenton

This season’s ROH Cinema fare consists of ten events, five operas and five ballets – an even-handed fest of music-drama and terpsichorean twists that travels globally to anyone keen on these art forms, or who is curious about them and wants to dip in the water. All you need to be is near a participating cinema. Turandot opened the season and had its “one night only” showing as part of this launch evening, live from just a few miles away. (Hopefully, this Hotel cinema’s very loud and edgy sound that reported one of Puccini’s masterpieces is not typical of the other 999 outlets!) Certainly original director Andrei Serban’s spectacular setting came alive on the big screen, the viewer made part of the action; not better just different to the in-House experience and a cost-effective way of keeping up with Royal Opera’s enterprising productions.

The remaining nine productions are as follows (there is of course much more happening in the Royal Opera House itself), beginning – strictly alphabetically – with Ballet:

  • 16 October – Don Quixote/New production by Carlos Acosta
  • 12 December – The Nutcracker, a festive-season favourite, with wonderful music by Tchaikovsky
  • 27 January 2014 – Giselle (charming!)
  • 19 March – The Sleeping Beauty/Production by Monica Mason & Christopher Newton (more wonderful music by Tchaikovsky)
  • 28 April – The Winter’s Tale/New production by Christopher Wheeldon


  • 4 November – Verdi’s Les Vêpres siciliennes, a mouth-watering prospect, Pappano conducting Poplavskaya, Schrott, Hymel, Volle (a taster below)
  • 18 December – Wagner’s Parsifal – his last opera, a sacred creation, Pappano conducting Simon O’Neill, Pape, Finley, Willard White and Angela Denoke; also mouth-watering, if for very different reasons
  • 12 February 2014 – Don Giovanni – just could be Mozart’s greatest opera, here in a new staging by Kasper Holten, with Mariusz Kwiecien, Alex Esposito, Malin Byström and Veronique Gens
  • 24 June 2014 – Manon Lescaut – lesser-known Puccini, maybe, but no less enticing; Maestro Pappano returns for this new production, directed by Jonathan Kent, with Kristīne Opolais, Jonas Kaufmann and Christopher Maltman

    Wherever you may be in the World on these dates, be it song or dance (Sicilian Vespers is both), have a great time.

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