The Royal Ballet's glorious production of The Nutcracker, created by Peter Wright in 1984, is the production par excellence of an all-time ballet favourite. It is Christmas Eve and Herr Drosselmeyer the magician sweeps young Clara away on a fantasy adventure in which time is suspended, the family living-room becomes a great battlefield, and a magical journey takes them through the Land of Snow to the Kingdom of Sweets. Tchaikovsky's glittering score, the gorgeous festive stage designs, and The Royal Ballet's captivating dancing including an exquisite pas de deux between the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Prince, make this Nutcracker the quintessential Christmas experience.
This production of The Sleeping Beauty has been delighting audiences in Covent Garden since 1946. A classic of Russian ballet, it established The Royal Ballet both in its new home after World War II and as a world-class company. Sixty years later, in 2006, the original staging was revived, returning Oliver Messel’s wonderful designs and glittering costumes to the stage. Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky’s enchanting score and Marius Petipa’s original choreography beautifully combine with sections created for The Royal Ballet by Frederick Ashton, Anthony Dowell and Christopher Wheeldon. This ballet is sure to cast its spell over anyone who sees it.
Puccini’s opera of young love in 19th-century Paris is packed with beautiful music, including lyrical arias, celebratory choruses for Act II’s evocation of Christmas Eve in the Latin Quarter and a poignant final scene over which the composer himself wept. Richard Jones’s character-led production perfectly capturesLa bohème’s mixture of comedy, romance and tragedy, with striking designs by Stewart Laing. The cast features some of the greatest interpreters of Puccini’s bohemian lovers performing today, as well as former members of The Royal Opera’s Jette Parker Young Artists Programme.
by Edmon Rostand, in a new version by Martin Crimp
Directed by Jamie Lloyd
James McAvoy (X-Men, Atonement) returns to the stage in an inventive new adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac, broadcast live to cinemas from the West End in London.
Fierce with a pen and notorious in combat, Cyrano almost has it all - if only he could win the heart of his true love Roxane. There’s just one big problem: he has a nose as huge as his heart. Will a society engulfed by narcissism get the better of Cyrano - or can his mastery of language set Roxane’s world alight?
Edmond Rostand’s masterwork is adapted by Martin Crimp, with direction by Jamie Lloyd (Betrayal). This classic play will be brought to life with linguistic ingenuity to celebrate Cyrano’s powerful and resonant resistance against overwhelming odds.
Liam Scarlett’s glorious production of Swan Lake, new in 2018, returns for its first revival. While remaining faithful to the Marius Petipa/Lev Ivanov text, Scarlett’s additional choreography and John Macfarlane’s magnificent designs breathe new life into what is arguably the best-known and most-loved classical ballet. The entire Company shines in this eternal tale of doomed love, a masterpiece filled with iconic moments. Tchaikovsky’s first score for ballet soars with its symphonic sweep and combines perfectly with exquisite choreography from the grand pas de deux of Prince Siegfried and Odile to the swans at the lakeside. An intoxicating mix of spectacle and intimate passion, the overall effect is irresistible.
Two opera classics are drawn together in this wonderfully observed re-creation of life in a south Italian village as a travelling theatre visits and emotions erupt. The award-winning production by Damiano Michieletto presents vividly the fast-moving, shocking events brought about by secret love and uncontrollable jealousy. The music is full of Italianate melody in the great choruses that bring the villagers together in celebration and revelry, alongside the solo arias and tense confrontations that provoke violence and tragedy. With thrilling singing and intense drama, ‘Cav and Pag’ distils into one wonderful night out, the enduring appeal of Italian opera in its most familiar form.
One life in the hands of 12 women.
Rural Suffolk in England, 1759. As the country waits for Halley’s comet, a young woman is sentenced to hang for a heinous murder.
When she claims to be pregnant, a jury of 12 matrons are taken from their housework to decide whether she’s telling the truth, or simply trying to escape the noose. With only midwife Lizzy Luke prepared to defend the girl, and a mob baying for blood outside, the matrons wrestle with their new authority, and the devil in their midst.
James Macdonald (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) directs Maxine Peake (The Theory of Everything, Funny Cow) and Ria Zmitrowicz (Three Girls, Mr. Selfridge) in this bold and gripping thriller from Tony Award-nominated writer Lucy Kirkwood (Chimerica, Skins). Broadcast live from the National Theatre in London.
Dante’s Divine Comedy is an epic journey through the afterlife: it encompasses the horrifying drama of Inferno and its damned, the lyrical mysticism of pilgrims on mount Purgatorio and the dazzling spheres of Paradiso with their endless configurations of light. The poem was inspired by the agony of Dante’s own exile, and traces his path from crisis to revelation guided by his literary hero Virgil and his lost love Beatrice. In this new work, The Royal Ballet’s trailblazing Resident Choreographer Wayne McGregor collaborates with an award-winning team – contemporary composer Thomas Adès, artist Tacita Dean, lighting designer Lucy Carter and dramaturg Uzma Hameed – to bring us closer to Dante and his extraordinary vision.
Strauss’s thrilling and audacious adaptation of Greek tragedy receives a new staging by the award- winning director Christof Loy. This uncompromising opera, about a daughter intent on bloody revenge and a mother driven to madness, has provoked critics to lively debate and both shocked and excited audiences since its 1909 premiere.
Antonio Pappano conducts music that combines violence with moments of exquisite tenderness in his first Strauss interpretation for The Royal Opera since 2002. The outstanding cast includes Nina Stemme (Brünnhilde in last Season’s Der Ring des Nibelungen) in the title role, and Karita Mattila in her role debut as the haunted queen Klytämnestra.