Opera and ballet lovers will have a wonderful time this summer in the UK. Thanks to a hugely popular Royal Opera House initiative, opera and ballet screenings of Covent Garden productions will be available all over the country on outdoor screens in June and July.
This piece of news comes after the exceptional announcement that the Covent Garden productions will be available across many different digital platforms including radio, television, CDs, DVDs and online.
This summer in particular is going to be astonishingly enjoyable for an even wider public than before. The ROH is proud to announce that this year sees the largest-ever number of BP Summer Big Screens across the country. Free live opera and ballet will be available in twenty locations all over the UK and the screenings will be forty-two in total.
New venues for 2009 are Bristol, Cardiff, Middlesbrough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Swansea and Waltham Forest. From Aberdeen to Swindon, from London to Manchester, audiences will enjoy acclaimed productions starring divas and divos from the best of the operatic and ballet world. The pieces presented are among the the most popular of the Royal Opera House's productions: the ballet Ondine, and the operas La Traviata and The Barber of Seville.
To start with, probably the most celebrated and doomed love-story within the Verdian repertoire, La traviata, will be broadcast on 30 June. The line-up has the potential to leave audiences all over the UK breathless, as this production features Renée Fleming, Joseph Calleja and Thomas Hampson. Gareth Malone will join Deborah Bull as co-presenter live in Trafalgar Square.
On 15 July, the sparkling Barber of Seville will be broadcast, in a stunning production that includes Simon Keenlyside, Joyce DiDonato and Juan Diego Flórez.
Ballet lovers will enjoy the eerie and romantic Ondine on 3 June. This production features Miyako Yoshida. Together with the prestigious Royal Ballet, they will give life to the melancholy story of the water-nymph, Ondine.
The screenings are an initiative promoted by the Royal Opera and BBC thanks to the generous contribution of BP, which has supported Covent Garden Ballet and Opera since 2000. The enthusiasm of those involved in this project is incredible, and rightly so.
Tony Hall, Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House is thrilled at the announcement of these events: 'This is a fantastic opportunity for family and friends to come together this summer and experience these world class performances in the outdoors, maybe even with a picnic. Each city creates a unique atmosphere - there's such an air of excitement and expectation with hugely enthusiastic crowds. The support of both BP and the BBC has been critical to the success of the big screens, and we're very excited that more people than ever before will be able to see our performances on the big screens this year'.
In addition to the fantastic outdoor events, the Royal Opera and BP also announced a competition in tandem with the screening. Film-makers of all ages are invited to produce their own forty second version of Ondine. The winner of this contest will see their video showcased on the BP Summer Big Screen alongside the Royal Ballet's performance on 3 June 2009 at 7.30 pm. Full competition details are available here, and the deadline for submission is 26 May.
These open air-events are an extraordinary and accessible way to experience the best opera and ballet productions of one of the best opera houses in the world. Taking into consideration the other initiatives that make a wide repertoire available on different platforms, we cannot but hope that the ROH, BBC and BP will continue their fruitful and unique collaboration in the years to come.
BP Summer Big Screens
Ondine - 3 June at 7.30PM
Live to Trafalgar Square, London; Botanic Gardens, Belfast; Centenary Square, Bradford; Millennium Square, Bristol; The Hayes, Cardiff; Market Place, Derby; Millennium Square, Leeds; Exchange Square, Manchester; Centre Square, Middlesbrough; The Piazza, Plymouth; All Saints' Square, Rotherham; Castle Square, Swansea.
La Traviata - 30 June at 7PM
Live to Trafalgar Square, London; Canary Wharf, London, Duthie Park, Aberdeen; Centenary Square, Bradford; Millennium Square, Bristol; The Hayes, Cardiff; Market Place, Derby; Christchurch Park, Ipswich; Millennium Square, Leeds; Exchange Square, Manchester; Centre Square, Middlesbrough; The Piazza, Plymouth; All Saints Square, Rotherham; Chertsey Road, Sunbury; Castle Square, Swansea.
The Barber of Seville - 15 July at 7.30PM
Live to Trafalgar Square, London; Canary Wharf, London; Walthamstow Town Square, Waltham Forest; Centenary Square, Bradford; The Hayes, Cardiff; Market Place, Derby; Millennium Square, Leeds; Clayton Square, Liverpool; Exchange Square, Manchester; Centre Square, Middlesbrough; The Piazza, Plymouth; Guildhall Square, Portsmouth; All Saints Square, Rotherham; Castle Square, Swansea; Wharf Green, Swindon.
For further information visit www.roh.org.uk/bpbigscreens.
Photo: Renée Fleming
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