17 September 2013 at 7.38pm | 10 Comments
The Royal Opera House Live Cinema Season 2013/14 opens tonight with a broadcast of Puccini's classic Turandot.
Hot on the heels of the success of the 2012/13 Season, which attracted audiences of up to 40,000, the Live Cinema Season 2013/14 has expanded to more than 1,000 cinemas across 40 countries, and features an unprecedented five Royal Opera and five Royal Ballet productions.
'In the cinema you feel like you have the best seat in the house,' said Director of Music Antonio Pappano ahead of the live screening of Turandot. 'The cinema experience brings you closer: you see the sweat and expression on the faces of some of the finest singers and dancers on stage. I am very much looking forward to this evening, along with the other 9,999 sites sharing in this wonderful experience.'
Following tonight's screening of Turandot, Carlos Acosta's hotly anticipated new production of Don Quixote (in which Carlos and Marianela Nuñez dance the lead roles) will be screened live on 16 October. This is followed on 4 November by Stefan Herheim's new production of Verdi's Les Vêpres siciliennes, featuring a stellar cast that includes Bryan Hymel, Marina Poplavskaya, Erwin Schrott and Michael Volle.
Bryan Hymel will sing the role of Henri for the live cinema relay of Les Vêpres siciliennes. 'When performing in a live cinema relay, it is forever in your mind that it's not just the people in the auditorium you are performing for, but some twenty to thirty thousand people across the globe,' he says. 'The energy of it being live is just a great new experience as you have to be so mindful of the details - the eyes and face. In the cinema, you honestly have the best seat in the house.'
Other productions to be screened live include Christmas favourite The Nutcracker, Stephen Langridge's new production of Parsifal, Peter Wright's Giselle and Kasper Holten's new production of Mozart's Don Giovanni.
Since 2009, when the Royal Opera House broadcast in just 120 sites in 12 countries, ROH Live Cinema has expanded rapidly.
'We've been on a tremendous journey since the Live Cinema Season launched,' continues Antonio Pappano. 'Last season, over 32,000 people watched The Nutcracker: it was the second highest grossing film that night - nestled between The Hobbit and Skyfall'.
Similarly, 35,000 attended the live screening of Nabucco in April 2013, while some 40,000 watched the screenings of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.