Two newly programmed, progressive opera productions will welcome
audiences on Saturday 17 and 24 October. Curated by Oliver Mears, the
stagings will feature celebrated directors from the world of opera and
theatre, paired with composers, conductors, singers and the Orchestra
of the Royal Opera House in inspiring works that would never normally
be seen on the main stage of the Royal Opera House.
The first of these, 4/4, will be performed live on Saturday 17 October.
Directed by Olivier Award nominee Adele Thomas, renowned baroque
specialist Christian Curnyn will conduct Alexandra Lowe and Jonathan
McGovern in Handel’s Apollo and Daphne. Gruber’s wild and irreverent
Frankenstein!! will see one of the most exciting and sought-after
singers of his generation, Allan Clayton, take to the stage, directed
by multi-Olivier Award-winning director Richard Jones, conducted by
former Jette Parker Young Artist (JPYA) Ed Whitehead. Current JPYA
soprano Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha will sing Barber’s Knoxville
Summer 1915, directed by Antony McDonald and conducted by Patrick
Milne. And finally, leading British mezzo-soprano Christine Rice will
perform Britten’s final masterpiece Phaedra – directed by theatre and
opera specialist Deborah Warner.
New Dark Age will follow on Saturday 24 October. The evening will open
with The Knife of Dawn, a one-person chamber opera by one of Britain’s
most exciting young composers, Hannah Kendall. The new production will
be directed by critically acclaimed director Ola Ince, conducted by
Natalie Murray Beale and will feature baritone Peter Brathwaite. Katie
Mitchell will present a brand-new music drama piece showcasing works by
female composers: Missy Mazzoli, Anna Meredith and Anna
Thorvaldsdottir. The Royal Opera House’s commitment to promoting the
newest talent continues, as emerging stage directors who have taken
part in the ROH opera training programme, led by Katie Mitchell, assist
on both programmes. Tickets for the online livestreams of 4/4 and New
Dark Age are available
online, and ticketing for live audiences will open soon.
Hannah Kendall © Chris Alexander.
Director of Opera, Oliver Mears said:
“The Royal Opera returns, determined to embrace the constraints of our
new world while seeing this as a moment of artistic opportunity,
offering a breadth of work from the beginning of our story – concerts
of Ariodante, one of the great Handel operas first staged at Covent
Garden – through to Verdi, conducted by Antonio Pappano, and finally to
bold new stagings of contemporary work and pieces that have never been
staged at Covent Garden. Working alongside a world-class assembly of
singers, directors and conductors, we can’t wait to be back, presenting
these exhilarating projects to both live and digital global audiences.”
In a unique collaboration with Figment Productions and Royal Holloway
University, we are also proud to announce the world’s first original
opera in hyper reality: Current, Rising, an artistic experiment
bringing together historic stagecraft and cutting-edge technology,
developed by a female-led creative team.
Anna Dennis, in rehearsal for Current Rising © Isha Shah.
The opera, directed by Netia Jones, designed by Joanna Scotcher, and
composed by Samantha Fernando, is inspired by the liberation of Ariel
at the end of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. It places audiences at the
centre of an immersive, dream-like virtual world, taking them on a
journey through imaginary landscapes of the night, from twilight to
dawn. Current, Rising is a multi-sensory, fully immersive 360
experience exploring ideas of isolation, connection, and how we can
collectively reimagine our futures.
Current, Rising has been produced as part of the Royal Opera House’s
innovation programme, Audience Labs, and is ideal for those who are new
to opera. It will take place in the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Theatre
from 28 November 2020 and will strictly adhere to social distancing
guidelines. More details will be announced when booking opens.
Current Rising – set design by Joanna Scotcher.
The Royal Opera House continues to provide the best opportunities for
talented young singers, conductors, repetiteurs and directors from
across the globe through the Jette Parker Young Artist programme. To
welcome the new recruits, Meet the Young Artists Week returns from
26-31 October with a packed virtual and live schedule. Power is placed
in the hands of the digital audience as the week kicks off with Juke
Box, a streamed event where each artist sings an aria or song in a bid
to make it to the final live concert on Friday 30 October.
Complementing the main stage short operas, across the week three Female
Monodramas will be broadcast featuring Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha,
Stephanie Wake-Edwards and Alexandra Lowe, paired with directors from
the Royal Opera House’s LockDown/SkillUp training programme under the
tutelage of Katie Mitchell. The three short films have been shot on
location in the Royal Opera House giving glimpses of much-missed
corridors and backstage areas. Rounding off the week, live audiences
will be treated to recitals in the Linbury Theatre on Thursday 29
October featuring Blaise Malaba, AndrÈs Presno and April
Koyejo-Audiger, and the full collective will join to sing in an
Ensemble concert on Wednesday 28 October.
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. This Autumn, the production makes a
welcome return. Performed in concert on Friday 20 and Sunday 22
November – the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House will play alongside
Paula Murrihy, Chen Reiss, Gerald Finley and Sophie Bevan, conducted by
Christian Curnyn. A concert performance of Verdi’s Falstaff will follow
on Friday 27 and Sunday 29 November, with celebrated bass-baritone Bryn
Terfel resuming the titular role alongside Simon Keenlyside, conducted
by Antonio Pappano.
Sir Bryn Terfel as Falstaff © Catherine Ashmore.
In December, The Royal Opera will perform several Christmas Concerts
with the combined forces of the Royal Opera Chorus, Jette Parker Young
Artists and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House.
In November, The Royal Ballet: Live will offer a unique opportunity to
see, in person, The Royal Ballet back on its home stage in a snapshot
of its rich repertory past and present. 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. Programme A features Kenneth MacMillan’s showstopping
Elite Syncopations and Programme B includes Christopher Wheeldon’s
ballet of shimmering beauty, Within the Golden Hour.
A reworked, Covid-safe version of The Nutcracker will also open in time
for a festive treat for the whole family, a classic with a special
place in the hearts of ballet fans around the world. Peter Wright’s
production of The Nutcracker has been enchanting children and adults
alike since its first performance by The Royal Ballet in 1984. Combined
with Tchaikovsky’s sumptuous, iconic score and charming designs by
Julia Trevelyan Oman, this is a magical production. More details of
this exciting adaptation are to be announced.
On Friday 9 October, The Royal Ballet returns for a special
livestreamed performance, The Royal Ballet: Back on Stage. After an
absence of seven months the whole Company will be reunited on their
home stage with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House in a spectacular
collection of highlights from their wide-ranging repertory. A specially
invited small audience, including students and health workers, will
join us for our first live performance with an audience since the
beginning of lockdown.
The Insights series also continues via the ROH YouTube Channel,
allowing global digital audiences the chance to discover more about the
work being created by the Companies and creators working on stage and
behind the scenes. The first will provide behind-the-scenes footage of
Hannah Kendall’s The Knife of Dawn, offering fascinating rehearsal
footage and interviews with the cast and creative team.
Royal Ballet dancers will host a dedicated Insight to celebrate Black
History Month, this event will take a personal approach, discussing
dancers’ experiences and influences, exploring heritage and culture and
how these shared and individual experiences have shaped their lives and
their careers in the UK and beyond.
Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House, Alex Beard, said:
“We are delighted to present this bold, wide-ranging autumn programme
highlighting the creativity and innovation that can come from
adversity. It is vital for theatres across the UK and for our community
of diverse artists, that we begin to bring our art forms safely back to
our stages. This programme of new work, shorts, a world first
hyperreality opera and live broadcasts are all underpinned by our
efforts to reach new and existing audiences online, showcasing the very
best of our art forms in new and unexpected ways.”
Please note that full casting and on sale information will follow in
the coming weeks.