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  • Life Reimagined Gala: Kevin O'Hare and Kasper Holten preview their highlights

Life Reimagined Gala: Kevin O'Hare and Kasper Holten preview their highlights

The Director of The Royal Ballet and Director of The Royal Opera on what they're most excited for at the upcoming gala.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

18 February 2015 at 12.01pm | 5 Comments

On 25 February 2015, Covent Garden will host the Life Reimagined Gala, a very special event in aid of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden Foundation, the charity that supports the performances, craftsmanship and Learning and Participation projects of the ROH.

The gala will feature stars of The Royal Ballet and internationally acclaimed singers including Bryn Terfel, Eva-Maria Westbroek and Toby Spence alongside Jette Parker Young Artists, the Youth Opera Company and Chance to Dance Company in a bespoke programme that embraces the spectrum of talent at Covent Garden.

'For The Royal Ballet, the Gala offers a wonderful opportunity to showcase The Royal Ballet organization in its entirety; from the youngest members of our Chance to Dance Company, to students from the Lower and Upper Royal Ballet School and the dancers of The Royal Ballet including many of its Principal dancers,' says Director of The Royal Ballet Kevin O'Hare.

As well as excerpts from some popular and familiar works there will be an opportunity for ballet fans to see new work created especially for the occasion. Artist in Residence Liam Scarlett has taken inspiration from Gershwin’s Summertime to create an evocative pas de deux for Principals Zenaida Yanowsky and Matthew Golding, and Kim Brandstrup has turned to the delicacy of Purcell’s Fairy Queen for his piece performed by Principals Laura Morera and Federico Bonelli as well as a Royal Opera Jette Parker Young Artist, soprano Lauren Fagan.

'I am delighted that we are also able to stage, for the first time, the pas de deux from the National Theatre and Cameron Mackintosh’s highly-acclaimed production of Carousel. Choreographed by Kenneth MacMillan in 1992, it was to be the last piece of choreography that he created before his untimely death, and will be danced in the gala by Sarah Lamb and Carlos Acosta. It promises to be a joyous and truly unique evening.'

Director of The Royal Opera, Kasper Holten, is equally excited about the event:

'It is always a thrill to work on one of the whole-house galas as it really brings us out of our comfort zone of doing productions as we are used to and are forced to think about how we can put something very special together for the audience and to showcase what ROH is really about. Whereas we are proud to be working alongside The Royal Ballet every day all year, there is something special about coming together artistically, and really thinking about what image we want to project of ROH.

'Galas can be difficult to make truly exciting for opera, as even when we land wonderful singers, we lack all the other ingredients that makes opera so overwhelming: the staging, the costumes, and other elements of the production. For this gala, we want to really try to push opera forward and make it look – as well as sound - spectacular in these circumstances. When I worked with the amazing video designer Luke Halls on Don Giovanni last year, it was clear to me that, with advances in technology and an artistic brain like Luke’s, video can now help us make a fascinating visual evening in addition to securing great singers.'

One late addition to The Royal Opera's gala line-up is Aleksandrs Antonenko:

'When our other tenor had to withdraw recently for personal reasons, we had not dared hope we would manage to secure one of the world’s leading tenors on such short notice,' says Kasper. 'Since he blew us all away with his Otello in Summer 2012, it has been clear that he is a world star, and we are delighted that he will join the gala.'

All proceeds go to the Royal Opera House Covent Garden Foundation, a registered charity that supports the outstanding performances, remarkable craftsmanship and inspiring Learning and Participation projects of the Royal Opera House.

This article has 5 comments

  1. Charles responded on 18 February 2015 at 12:28pm Reply

    Is it a sign of the times, that this gala has quite a way to go to be sold out.

    I was also wondering, is the Royal Opera House no longer attended on such occasions by any members of the Royal family?

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 18 February 2015 at 1:27pm

      Hi Charles,

      Royal attendance at events such as galas depends on a number of factors, not least the Royal Family's very busy schedules. They are incredibly supportive of our work and maintain an active role with both The Royal Opera and The Royal Ballet (The Prince of Wales is the Patron of The Royal Opera, and the Queen is the patron of The Royal Ballet).

      Thanks,

      Chris
      ROH Content Producer

  2. John responded on 19 February 2015 at 4:32pm Reply

    When will the program be announced? Is Sonya Yoncheva still scheduled to sing?

  3. Bea responded on 15 April 2015 at 9:22am Reply

    How wonderful that the Youth Opera Company were involved. Whilst in the company the opportunities are great, but when they leave at 13,the members are left with no support from the ROH. This is so sad, as they were promised termly contact for advice and help to develop the skills they learned at the ROH, nothing has happened.

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