Televisual treats: The Royal Opera and Royal Ballet on TV this Christmas
Details of when you can watch opera and ballet on the box.
As well as the chance to spend some time with family and celebrate a key moment in the religious calendar, Christmas is a great time to curl up on the sofa and watch some festive TV. In between the ‘year in review’ shows, nostalgic film and soap opera histrionics there’s a healthy dose of opera and ballet on TV and radio. We’ve picked out some highlights.
What better way to kick off the festivities than The Royal Ballet’s Nutcracker (BBC Four, 23 December 7pm; Sky Arts 2 23 December 8pm, 24 December 2am, 24 December 2pm, 25 December 8am)? Tickets for the popular live production at the Royal Opera House are limited, but still available. The ballet runs here until 18 January 2012.
Following the success of BBC Four’s Opera Italia, Christmas Eve sees Royal Opera House Musical Director Antonio Pappano present Pappano’s Essential Tosca (BBC Two, 1:35pm; repeated BBC Two, 14 January, 8pm) and the opportunity to take a televisual trip to Rome with the Maestro to examine the various real life locations included in Puccini’s opera. This will be followed by a broadcast of the opera itself (BBC Two, 2:35pm) – the perfect opportunity to impress family with your new-found operatic knowledge.
Take a trip down the rabbit hole on Christmas Day when Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland will be broadcast in a pre-Christmas Lunch slot (BBC Two, 12:10pm). Feel free to dance around the living room to work up an appetite for turkey. If you are planning on doing so, may we recommend brushing up on your Fouettés and Pirhouettes with our YouTube ballet glossary.
After wolfing down the traditional mountain of sprouts and slab of Christmas pudding, get glitzy with Darcey Bussell as she steps into the shoes of her Hollywood heroes to celebrate the enduring legacy of classic dance musicals. Darcey Dances Hollywood (BBC Two, 6pm) will feature the former Royal Ballet Principal dancing a new routine inspired by the Dem Bones Café number from The Band Wagon. And if that’s not enough, there’s also the opportunity to catch former Royal Ballet dancers the BalletBoyz in a documentary (BalletBoyz: Next Generation) that’s followed them over the past two years (More 4, 25 December, 11:05pm)
Heading towards the year’s climax, say goodbye to 2011 in style with the glamour and drinking of La traviata (BBC Radio 3, 31 December, 6pm). Perfect pre-celebratory listening (though we hope that your evening ends better than Alfredo and Violetta’s).
If your New Year’s resolution is to listen to more opera, get 2012 off to a flier with Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (BBC Radio 3, 1 January, 2:45pm). With the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House under the baton of Antonio Pappano and starring the likes of Sir John Tomlinson, Wolfgang Koch, Emma Bell and Simon O’Neill, it’ll be a rousing way to begin a year. If you’d prefer to join us at the House in person, tickets are still available.
What will you be watching over Christmas? Are you tempted by any of our televisual treats?