English National Ballet is delicately tip-toeing in on the live-streaming act. The world-class ballet company has launched ENB at Home, and as part of the streaming series, it will be releasing a production a week for its ‘Wednesday Watch Parties’.
The Royal Opera House is also offering live streamings:
La Boheme – 3 – 17 July: Puccini’s opera of passion, friendship and heartbreak is one of the best-loved operas worldwide. Its music includes such treats as Rodolfo and Mimì’s Act I arias and duet, the ebullient choruses of Act II and Mimì’s heartrending death scene. Richard Jones’s recent production for The Royal Opera perfectly captures the vulnerability of youth amid the harshness and glamour of a big city. The atmospheric designs, by Stewart Laing, evoke both the poverty of the bohemians’ attic home and the splendour of Paris’s shopping arcades on Christmas Eve. The opera blends tragedy and comedy, the soulful and the spirited, into a powerful encapsulation of the intenseness of life’s experiences to its young would-be artists and their lovers, in this recording performed by a winning young cast under the baton of Antonio Pappano, Music Director of The Royal Opera. Read more
The National Theatre has the world’s greatest treasure trove of live theatre recordings from the last ten or so years, filmed at a high enough quality to be streamed free on YouTube as part of its NT Live programme.
Every Thursday throughout May, a new play will premiere on YouTube at 7pm BST (8pm in South Africa), available to watch for free, for a week.
Les Blancs by Lorraine Hansberry (adapted by Robert Nemiroff), in a never-before-seen archive recording, is streaming from 2 July at 8pm. Directed by Yaël Farber, it’s a brave, illuminating and powerful work that confronts the hope and tragedy of revolution. WATCH HERE
An African country teeters on the edge of civil war. A society prepares to drive out its colonial present and claim an independent future. Tshembe, returned home from England for his father’s funeral, finds himself in the eye of the storm. A brave, illuminating and powerful work that confronts the hope and tragedy of revolution. Les Blancs was filmed for the National Theatre Archive in 2016.
Les Blancs marked the National Theatre debut of the multi-award-winning South African director Yaël Farber, whose productions include The Crucible (Old Vic) and the internationally acclaimed Mies Julie and Nirbhaya.
This production is adapted by Robert Nemiroff and the restored text directed by Joi Gresham. Presented in memory of Nofenishala Mvotyo, who played friction drum (masengwana) in Les Blancs and was a preserver of the Xhosa culture, as well as an ambassador of the split-toned, throat deep sounds that normally echo in the mountains of Ngqoko. — The running time is 2 hours 30 minutes with a very short interval. Age guidance is 15+ This play is about imperialism, racism, and colonialism and contains scenes of racially motivated violence, that some people may find distressing.
The Deep Blue Sea by Terence Rattigan, with Helen McCrory and Tom Burke, is streaming from 9 July. Read more
Amadeus by Peter Shaffer, with live orchestral accompaniment by Southbank Sinfonia, is streaming from 16 July. Read more
Opera From The Metropolitan Opera in New York
Opera buffs are in opera heaven with the Met’s series of free Nightly Opera Streams that features outstanding performances from the award-winning Live in HD series.
A great advantage for South Africans is that it is streamed nightly in the US, which means we can watch it daily until midnight!
You can watch it in subtitles and there as some fantastic backstage interviews after each viewing. Registration on the Met Opera site is free.
Monday,6 July, Rossini’s La Donna del Lago
Rossini, one of the great masters of glittering Italianate charm and spectacle, would seem an unlikely candidate to create an operatic retelling of Sir Walter Scott’s shadowy epic of clan warfare in 16th-century Scotland. But the heart of the drama is a classic love triangle—something every opera composer is comfortable with—and as Elena, the title heroine, is pursued by two tenors portraying suitors from rival factions, Rossini has the perfect opportunity to bring all of his musical brilliance to bear.
An all-star cast assembled for the Met’s first-ever performances of Rossini’s romantic retelling of Sir Walter Scott’s epic poem The Lady of the Lake. Joyce DiDonato is Elena, the title heroine, who is being pursued by not one, but two tenors—setting off sensational vocal fireworks. Juan Diego Flórez is King James V of Scotland, disguised as the humble Uberto, and John Osborn sings his political enemy, and rival in love, Rodrigo Di Dhu. Complicating matters is the fact that Elena herself loves Malcolm, a trouser role sung by mezzo-soprano Daniela Barcellona, and that she is the daughter of Duglas (Oren Gradus), another of the king’s political adversaries. Paul Curran’s atmospheric production is conducted by Michele Mariotti. Synopsis
Tuesday, 7 July, Puccini’s La Boheme
Puccini’s timeless love story, which includes some of its composer’s most beloved music, has moved generations of opera lovers since its 1896 world premiere. It has also proved incredibly popular with the Met’s global HD audiences and has been featured in three live high-definition transmissions since 2008. The most recent, presented during the 2017–18 season, includes a cast of celebrated young artists. Soprano Sonya Yoncheva is the fragile seamstress Mimì, who instantly falls in love with the passionate poet Rodolfo, sung by tenor Michael Fabiano. Soprano Susanna Phillips and baritone Lucas Meachem trade both spars and kisses as the on-again-off-again lovers Musetta and Marcello, with bass Matthew Rose and baritone Alexey Lavrov rounding out the rambunctious gang of bohemian friends. Maestro Marco Armiliato takes the podium to lead Franco Zeffirelli’s picturesque staging. Synopsis
Wednesday, 8 July, Verdi’s Il Trovatore
Luciano Pavarotti brings his spectacular voice and artistry to one of the most famous of all tenor roles—Manrico, the ardent troubadour, trapped in an impossible situation by forces beyond his control. The sensational Dolora Zajick, only days after her Met debut, gives an incandescent performance as the demented gypsy Azucena, thirsting for revenge against Count Di Luna (Sherrill Milnes). Eva Marton is the passionate Leonora, desired by both Manrico and the Count, and James Levine brilliantly leads the Met’s orchestra and chorus in some of Verdi’s best-known music. Synopsis
Thursday, 9 July, Mozart’s Così fan tutte
Met Music director James Levine conducts a cast of youthful stars in Mozart’s sophisticated comedy about testing the ties of love. Susanna Phillips and Isabel Leonard are the sisters Fiordiligi and Dorabella, who are led to believe their fiancés have gone off to war. Matthew Polenzani and Rodion Pogossov are Ferrando and Guglielmo, the lovers who return in disguise to test their girls’ fidelity. Danielle de Niese sings the scheming maid Despina and Maurizio Muraro is Don Alfonso, the philosopher and mastermind pulling the strings. Synopsis
Friday, 10 July, Zandonai’s Francesca da Rimini
Eva-Maria Westbroek stars in the title role of Zandonai’s sensuous drama, opposite Marcello Giordani as Paolo, in this Live in HD presentation. Piero Faggioni’s lush production provides the perfect setting for one of the all-time great tales of tragic passion, adapted from an episode in Dante’s Inferno. Mark Delavan co-stars as Giovanni, the husband and brother of the star-crossed lovers, whose jealousy leads him to kill them both. Robert Brubaker is Malatestino and Marco Armiliato conducts. Synopsis
Saturday, 11 July, Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin
Deborah Warner’s new production of Tchaikovsky’s tragic romance, directed by Fiona Shaw, opened the Met’s 2013–14 season. Anna Netrebko stars as Tatiana, the young woman whose impulsive declaration of love is coolly rejected by Mariusz Kwiecien’s Onegin—with unexpected consequences years later. Piotr Beczała is Lenski, the friend-turned-rival Onegin kills in a duel. Oksana Volkova (Olga), Elena Zaremba (Madame Larina), and Alexei Tanovitski (Prince Gremin) co-star, with Russian maestro Valery Gergiev conducting. Synopsis
Sunday, 12 July, Puccini’s Madama Butterfly
Ever since it opened the 2006–07 season, Anthony Minghella’s striking production of Madama Butterfly has been a Met classic. Drawing inspiration from traditional Japanese theater, Minghella’s staging retells this heartbreaking tale with brilliant stagecraft, bold colors, and bunraku puppetry. In this Live in HD performance from the fall of 2019, Chinese soprano Hui He stars as Cio-Cio-San, the young geisha who puts her trust in a visiting American naval officer, only to later be abandoned by him. In a feat of operatic heroics, tenor Bruce Sledge appears as the callous Pinkterton, stepping into the role on short notice to replace an ailing colleague. Pier Giorgio Morandi conducts one of opera’s most tragic masterpieces, leading a cast that also includes mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong as Cio-Cio-San’s loyal companion, Suzuki, and Tony Award–winning baritone Paulo Szot as the U.S. consul Sharpless. Synopsis
Monday, 13 July, Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde
The utter timelessness of Wagner’s masterpiece is superbly captured in Dieter Dorn’s production, designed by Jürgen Rose. It strips away the usual visual ballast from the drama to reveal the searing emotional truth at its core. Under James Levine’s probing conducting the great Met orchestra is a central character in the story. Ben Heppner and Jane Eaglen are Tristan and Isolde, overwhelmed by their all-consuming love for each other which defies society and the law. René Pape is a devastating King Marke, the man robbed of his wife by his best friend. Hans-Joachim Ketelsen and Katarina Dalayman complete the cast. Synopsis
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