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Royal Opera House, Covent Garden’s 2013-14 Cinema Season Gets Underway

By Classicalite Newsdesk on Sep 22, 2013 12:42 AM EDT

Tenor of the moment Jonas Kaufmann and a new full-length Shakespeare ballet by Christopher Wheeldon are among highlights of the new cinema season from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. And it's a medium that seems to have found its time, as far as London's première opera house is concerned. Last season, Plácido Domingo in Verdi's Nabucco was seen by nearly 35,000 people in cinemas around the U.K. (it was also shown in cinemas overseas). Wheeldon's ballet Alice's Adventures in Wonderland topped even that, reaching 40,000.

These are serious numbers. One night last year, The Nutcracker outsold (in terms of takings) Skyfall and came in second to The Hobbit!

Appropriately, in Verdi's and Wagner's big anniversary year, each has a flagship new production. The Italian gets Les Vêpres Siciliennes-- rarely performed (it's a hard one to get right) and when it is, it's often in its Italian version, I Vespri Siciliani. The ROH's music director, Antonio Pappano, conducts a production by Stefan Herheim. The cast includes Pappano regulars Marina Poplavskaya, Bryan Hymel and Erwin Schrott. The cinecast is on November 4, 2013.

That's followed by The Nutcracker on December 12 in the Peter Wright choreography. On December 18 comes the Wagner--Parsifal, his most mystical opera (does anyone quite understand everything it's about? Nevermind, it's still incredible). Pappano conducts a cast featuring Simon O'Neill, Angela Denoke, René Pape, Gerald Finley, Willard W. White and Robert Lloyd. Stephen Langridge directs.

On January 27, 2014, another ballet, Giselle, in a Marius Petipa production conducted by Boris Gruzin. The ROH's Director of Opera, Kaspar Holten offers one of his own productions, Don Giovanni, on February 12. Nicola Luisotti (music director of San Francisco Opera and the San Carlo opera house) conducts. The cast includes Mariusz Kwiecień, Alex Esposito, Malin Bystrom, Véronique Gens, Antonio Poli, Elizabeth Watts and Dawid Kimberg.

Another classic ballet, Sleeping Beauty, on March 19 is followed by the Royal Ballet's big news. Artistic associate Wheelson creates a ballet based on Shakespeare's late tragi-comedy (officially classed as a comedy, though there is one tragic death that tends to get forgotten) The Winter's Tale. Music is by Joby Talbot, David Briskin will conduct.

From late Shakespeare to early Puccini. On June 24, a new staging by Jonathan Kent (former artistic director of the Almeida Theater, whose Billy Budd has been such a recent hit for Glyndebourne) of Manon Lescaut returns that opera to Covent Garden for the first time in 20 years. Jonas Kaufman and Kristine Opolais are the lovers, with Christopher Maltman as Lescaut. Pappano conducts. Expect a copper-bottomed hit...

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TagsRoyal Opera House, Covent Garden, Verdi, Wagner, Puccini, Les Vepres Siciliani, Antonio Pappano, Royal Ballet, Christopher Wheeldon, Jonathan Kent, Jonas Kaufmann, Kristine Opolais, Rene Pape

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