The Royal Opera House has announced it will open its doors to audiences for a wealth of festive, socially-distanced events, live performances and much-loved repertory favourites from both The Royal Ballet and The Royal Opera in the run up to Christmas.
Following The Royal Ballet: Back on Stage live-streamed performance on 9 October, The Royal Ballet returns for its first public performances with The Royal Ballet: Live, two special 75-minute programmes that will run without an interval, celebrating cherished works and modern classics from the Company repertory. Dancers drawn from across the Company will perform a selection of excerpts from traditional and contemporary classics, and each evening will close with a celebrated one-act ballet. The Royal Ballet: Live – Elite Syncopations – running from 4 to 7 November – ends with Kenneth MacMillan’s Elite Syncopations, and The Royal Ballet: Live – Within the Golden Hour – running from 10 to 14 November – ends with Christopher Wheeldon’s ballet of shimmering beauty, Within the Golden Hour.
As The Royal Ballet returns to rehearsal and daily class, the public are invited to join them in the auditorium of the Royal Opera House to watch the Company take Class on Stage. This unique insight on 13 November at 10.30am reveals the daily preparation of a dancer’s day as they prepare their bodies and minds for a day of rehearsal.
Christmas favourite The Nutcracker makes a welcome return from 7 December 2020 to 2 January 2021 in a reworked, COVID-safe version for The Royal Ballet. This restaging of Peter Wright’s celebrated two-act production features students of The Royal Ballet School alongside the full Company. Many of the much-loved elements of this cherished classic remain, from the magical growing Christmas tree, to the enchanting dance of the snowflakes and spectacular pas de deux with the Sugar Plum Fairy and her prince in the Kingdom of Sweets. There will be a new battle scene between the Nutcracker and the Mouse King and their armies, choreographed by Will Tuckett. Combined with Tchaikovsky‘s sumptuous score performed live by the Orchestra of The Royal Opera House and charming designs by Julia Trevelyan Oman, this is a magical ballet for the whole family.
ROH will continue the free #OurHouseToYourHouse broadcasts with a new Friday Premiere of Canadian choreographer Crystal Pite’s Olivier award-winning Flight Pattern (2019), which will be broadcast for free, wherever you are in the world, on 6 November 2020 via the Royal Opera House’s YouTube channel. Her first work for The Royal Ballet, Flight Pattern was critically-acclaimed at its premiere and won best new dance production in 2018.
In the run-up to the festive season, ROH will open the doors to its historic Covent Garden home as part of its Twelve Days of Christmas promenades. The promenade through the world-famous London theatre will include activities for the whole family, seated performances in the beautiful Crush Room and Paul Hamlyn Hall, as well as opportunities to encounter some orchestral and choral festive highlights from artists of the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and the Royal Opera House Chorus.
This October the Royal Opera House welcomes the return of Meet the Young Artists Week – a week dedicated to the rising stars of the opera world as they join the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme (JPYAP). Running from 26–31 October this annual event provides audiences the opportunity to get to know the new intake of Young Artists and check back in with returning artists. On Friday 30 October, to round off a packed week, will be Jukebox 2 – a live concert curated by the ROH’s online audience. Each singer performs the full song that received the most votes of the excerpts they performed in Jukebox 1 earlier in the week. Interspersed with interviews, this is the ideal opportunity to get to know the personalities behind the voices.
Continuing its celebration of the operas Handel wrote for Covent Garden, The Royal Opera presents two concert performances of Ariodante on Friday 20 and Sunday 22 November. Ariodante was the first opera written by Handel for the first theatre on the current Royal Opera House site in 1735 and has not been performed at Covent Garden since. These concert performances bring together singers Paula Murrihy, Chen Reiss, Gerald Finley, Sophie Bevan and the Royal Opera Chorus with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, conducted by Baroque music specialist Christian Curnyn.
Two concert performances of Verdi’s Falstaff will follow on Friday 27 and Sunday 29 November, conducted by Royal Opera Music Director Antonio Pappano and starring Bryn Terfel in the title role and Simon Keenlyside as Ford. Pappano conducts the Royal Opera Chorus, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and a cast including members of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme.
In December, The Royal Opera will present three performances of a sparkling Christmas Concert. Soloists Jennifer Davis, Hanna Hipp, Jeremy White and Roderick Williams will perform with the combined forces of the Royal Opera Chorus, Jette Parker Young Artists and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. The festive staging will include extracts from fairy-tale favourites Rossini’s La Cenerentola and Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, and from repertory classics including Puccini’s La bohème and Mozart‘s The Magic Flute. The full flavour of Christmas will come via Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Christmas.