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Watch: Members of the cast and creative team discuss Król Roger

Films from the live stream of Karol Szymanowski's sumptuous opera Król Roger, including rehearsal footage and exclusive interviews.

By Lottie Butler (Former Assistant Content Producer (News and Social Media))

16 May 2015 at 8.55pm | Comment on this article

Kasper Holten’s acclaimed new production of Karol Szymanowski's Król Roger was live-streamed on 16 May 2015 via the Opera Platform and the Royal Opera House YouTube channel.

The production opened on 1 May, marking the first time the work has been seen at Covent Garden. Read audience reactions to the opening night.

The relay, which featured a series of backstage films, including rehearsal footage and interviews with members of the cast and creative team, will soon be available to watch on demand.

In case you missed them on the night, or just want to find out more about the production, here's another chance to see the films:

Members of the cast and creative team introduce Król Roger 

‘The opera is about the struggles we all face between culture and nature, between man and animal, and between head and body’, says Kasper. ‘But it was very clever how Szymanowski turned his own struggle with his repressed sexual desires, into a universal story about how all of us struggle with balancing our need for control with our inner desires.’

Find out more about Szymanowski and what themes inspired his composition.

The opera follows the story of the devout King Roger, a man weighed down by responsibilities and duty. The arrival of a Shepherd preaching a hedonistic creed threatens to cause chaos for both Roger and his Kingdom. ‘To me, [The Shepherd] is a desire. He is everything King Roger is not, and he can seduce him with his strength and his beauty,’ says Mariusz Kwiecień, who sings the role of King Roger.

Kasper Holten and Steffen Aarfing discuss the set for Król Roger

Director Kasper Holten and designer Steffen Aarfing's production of Król Roger is designed to depict the tension between Roger’s authority as a leader and his self-doubt as a man. An enormous monotlithic statue of a giant head, measuring eight metres tall, dominates the stage.

‘It’s almost too literal’, says Kasper. ‘It shows how, in the first Act, [Roger] lives only in his head, with his mind trying to control everything. On another level, it’s a god-like image in the church, and like a statue of a despotic leader’.

‘Simply because of the size, it becomes a relic or totalitarian image’, agrees Steffen. Read more about the staging of Król Roger.

To see more films like these, subscribe to the Royal Opera House YouTube channel:

Król Roger runs to 19 May 2015. Tickets are still available.

The production is generously supported by The Monument Trust, The Danish Research Foundation, The Adam Mickiewicz Institute as part of the Polska Music Programme, Susan and John Singer, The Taylor Family Foundation, Hamish and Sophie Forsyth, David Hancock, Michael Hartnall and the Connoisseurs’ Series.

By Lottie Butler (Former Assistant Content Producer (News and Social Media))

16 May 2015 at 8.55pm

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged Antonio Pappano, by Kasper Holten, Georgia Jarman, Karol Szymanowski, Kasper Holten, King Roger, Król Roger, live stream, Mariusz Kwiecien, opera, Production, Saimir Pirgu, Steffen Aarfing, The Royal Opera

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