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Watch: 'Opera, Ballet and the Bard' Insights event on demand.

Shakespeare Day insights event focuses on operas and ballets inspired by the playwright's work, including The Winter's Tale, Romeo and Juliet and Otello.

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

15 April 2016 at 10.00am | 7 Comments

This Insights event can now be watched on demand above.

23 April 2016 marks 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare.

To celebrate the life of the Bard, the Royal Opera House will live-stream an event focused around opera and ballet adaptations of his work.

Part of the BBC and British Council's Shakespeare Lives online festival, 'Ballet, opera and the Bard' will see rehearsals and performance from both The Royal Opera and The Royal Ballet. The hour-long stream from 1pm BST (viewable via the BBC website) will see Royal Ballet Principals Lauren Cuthbertson and Edward Watson rehearse The Winter's Tale, as well as a performance of the potion scene from Kenneth MacMillan's classic adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. The event will also see Royal Opera artists performing music from Verdi's two great Shakespearean operas, Otello and Falstaff.

The event from the Royal Opera House is one of a number of activities from cultural organizations that make up a day-long Shakespeare Day live-stream. Other contributors include the Royal Shakespeare CompanyShakespeare's Globe, the BFI and Hay Festival. The programme of events begins at 8am BST.

Royal Opera and Royal Opera artists will also perform as part of 'Shakespeare Live from the RSC', broadcast on BBC Two from 8.30pm BST. Yasmine Naghdi and Matthew Ball will perform the balcony pas de deux from Romeo and Juliet while Antonio Pappano will perform music inspired by Shakespeare with Ian Bostridge.

As well as The Royal Ballet and The Royal Opera, some of the world's top actors, musicians and broadcasters are involved in Shakespeare Lives including Judi DenchIan McKellenDavid TennantCarol Ann DuffyAdrian LesterGermaine GreerRalph FiennesSimon Russell Beale, the BBC Scottish Symphony and the BBC Concert Orchestra.

Find out more about the Shakespeare Lives festival, and join in using the hashtag #ShakespeareLives.

Otello runs from 21 June–15 July 2017. Tickets are still available.

This article has 7 comments

  1. Chris Bond responded on 20 April 2016 at 12:54pm Reply

    It will be great to see some rehearsal work. I think Cuthbertson and Watson *act* their roles powerfully, and their performances are more convincing than many I have seen in theatre productions of Shakespeare's original. For instance, the tension that builds in Act One as Leontes fractures, and Hermione maintains a noble dignity, is tormentingly visceral. The physicality of the exquisite dancing that produces this is haunting. An insight into this will be wonderful.

  2. Ab responded on 23 April 2016 at 1:43pm Reply

    Is this a show about the presenter, like the Graham Norton show? I particularly enjoyed when he told us that he's now walking over to the piano.

  3. hendrik responded on 23 April 2016 at 4:46pm Reply

    I wish that sports presenter would learn his stuff. He always gets names wrong - this time it was 'Federica Bonelli'. Surely there are more ballet-literate presenters who could be used?

    • Jakegee responded on 24 April 2016 at 9:00pm

      In one of the live cinema relays, Darcey Bussell referred to Federico as Frederico, and in another she could not even recollect Yuhui Choe's name. Then in the recent "Giselle" relay she mis-pronounced Vadim Muntagirov's name, so I don't think 'ballet literacy' is all that relevant. I think Ori is a much more professional presenter and link-man than Darcey with all her gushing, or, even worse, was Fiona Bruce!

  4. Manon1753 responded on 24 April 2016 at 4:46pm Reply

    Wonderful subject matter, wonderful performing artists. But oh dear, that presenter, pushing himself into the limelight constantly. Walking back into the studio in the middle a that breathtaking pas de deux. When will he learn to present a show, other people and not himself? "Guys, guys, guys." Surely the English language is richer than that. Shakespeare must be turning in his grave.

  5. Rachael responded on 24 April 2016 at 11:57pm Reply

    Enjoyed the live-stream of 'Opera, Ballet & the Bard' - thank you. Lovely to see Lauren & Ed rehearsing, plus hear what they had to say in the interviews.

    Also found the opera rehearsal interesting and informative. The juxtaposition of an actor speaking the words for the ballet and opera sections worked well too.

    I like Ore as a presenter: he comes across as very relaxed and enthusiastic. I appreciate live relays are challenging and pressured, but it would be nice if he could pronounce the names of the people he's introducing correctly with greater frequency!

    The highlight of the day for me was Yasmine & Matthew's moving performance of the balcony pas de deux from Romeo and Juliet at the RSC (despite the small stage). I saw their debut in the roles last autumn and thought they were wonderful, absolutely
    heartrending. They brought the story of Romeo & Juliet alive for me in a way that no other performance (ballet, play, film etc) has come close to. I don't think I'm alone in hoping to see Yasmine & Matthew dancing together again next autumn and beyond.

  6. Gareth Johns responded on 1 June 2016 at 5:37pm Reply

    Who (if anyone) will be first to perform my Hamlet Opera or Tempest Chamber Symphony in this special year. hmmm. queue up. lol

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