30 May 2011 at 9.36pm | Comment on this article
Are you planning on coming to the BP Big Screens this week? It's a perfect way to introduce friends and family to the Royal Opera House and to world-class opera and ballet. Come early to get a good spot and relax into the festival feel.
Preparation is the key; start planning your Big-Screen picnic today. The truly theatrical might even like to get dressed up. We’ll have picnic spies in Trafalgar Square on Wednesday for Manon. They'll be out and about on the day taking photos to upload to our website, or you can tweet them to us. The best Big Screen picnic party will win a Royal Opera House goodie bag.
Here's some tips to get you started:
What's on the screen: Kenneth MacMillan's ballet to a score by Massenet, LIVE at 7.30pm on Wednesday 1 June
Picnic suggestions: Baguette and brie for first half (set in Paris), then Mississippi mud pie for the emotionally wrought third act, when Manon is transported to New Orleans. To drink: Bordeaux/Burgundy, absinthe, or just de l'eau.
What to wear: Ladies: anything French, coquettish/decadent and faintly doom-laden (top tip: wear a sparkly bracelet; there's a whole pas de deux centered on one and it's a symbol of Manon's frivolity). Men: romantic hero meets clerical look.
Optional extras: Packet of tissues (not a dry eye in the house).
Leave at home: Tots, this not a ballet for children and there are some surprisingly adult motifs.
Pocket synopsis: Young French coquette spurns her true love for a life of riches. She ends up shaven-headed and transported to America as a convict, dying in the fetid swamps of New Orleans. [More]
What's on the screen: Puccini's Japanese opera, LIVE at 7.30pm on Monday 4 July
Picnic suggestions: Anything Oriental. Score extra points for Japanese foodstuffs (sushi, noodles or edamame beans). To drink: green tea, or sake.
What to wear: Ladies: Geisha look, plum blossom, colour-blocking in bright shades. Men: Mr Pinkerton - US 19th-century naval man or Bonze: Butterfly’s uncle and a Buddhist monk.
Tissues? pack plenty, Butterfly's death is heart-rending
Hum along? Yes, be part of the biggest (and possibly only) opera hum-along the Royal Opera House has ever conducted. They'll be expert Royal Opera House humming coaches on hand.
Pocket synopsis: Culture clash when a Lieutenant in the US Navy, Pinkerton, marries a Japanese geisha - without any commitment on his side. [More]
What's on the screen? Massenet's operatic version of the famous rags to riches tale, LIVE at 7.30pm on 13 July
Picnic suggestions: Anything dainty, sparkly or romantic. Cucumber sandwiches (without crusts), vol au vents, fairy cakes with fondant icing. To drink: champagne, a perfect fairytale brew.
What to wear: Ladies: soot-stained rags for first act, glass slippers and tiaras for second. Men: full prince-charming look (silk sash is a nice touch).
Suitable for a romantic night out? Yes, this is a romance with a happy ending.
Pocket synopsis: classic fairytale of virtue rewarded. [More]
Bring plastic glasses (glass could cause an accident). Don't bring deckchairs (in case you spoil someone else's view of the screen.)
Waterproof coat/poncho (very good idea)
Sunglasses/cream (you never know...)