BBC to broadcast Royal Opera House reopening concert

Royal Opera House reopening concert

The BBC is to broadcast the Royal Opera House‘s first post-lockdown performance across TV and radio later this month.

The concert, which will take place without a live audience, is scheduled for 13 June, hosted by the venue’s director of music Antonio Pappano.

It will feature a dance premiere by Wayne McGregor, resident choreographer of the Royal Ballet, as well as music by Britten, Handel and Butterworth.

Radio 3 will air the show on 15 June, with TV highlights later in the month.

Like all cultural venues around the UK, the Opera House closed in March, when the government banned gatherings to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Since then, the venue’s income has dropped by 60%, chief executive Alex Beard told the BBC.

“With no box office income and limited reserves we, like theatres and performing arts organisations across the country, face unprecedented financial stress,” he said.

“We need all our creativity and resolve to get through this, alongside a catalysing and vital investment from Government. Together we can ensure that a generation of talent is not lost to history, and the UK’s creative sector can continue to play its full role in our cultural lives.”

The venue’s re-opening performance will also be free to watch on YouTube and Facebook, with subsequent concerts on 20 and 27 June available to view live and on demand for £4.99.

The BBC’s coverage was announced by director general Tony Hall as part of a raft of cultural commissions.

Peter Capaldi will play Ludwig van Beethoven in a new Radio 3 drama marking the 250th anniversary of the German composer’s birth, while BBC Four will present a “major new series” about his life.

A performance of his opera Fidelio, filmed at the Royal Opera House before it closed its doors, will also be broadcast.

The musical family of royal wedding cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason will feature in a new BBC One film, culminating in a lockdown concert from their home; while BBC Four will profile conductor Bernard Haitink to mark his 90th birthday earlier this year.

And with the summer music season on hold, a number of performances will be made available on iPlayer from opera houses that have had to shut their doors during the lockdown.

Among them will be The Barber of Seville from Glyndebourne, The Turn of the Screw and The Marriage of Figaro from Garsington, and a performance of Opera North’s La Traviata filmed from backstage.

Lord Hall said the BBC would also expand its Culture In Quarantine programme, with “unique projects focused on museums and galleries” and the release of archived concerts from the BBC’s vaults.

Meanwhile, BBC Children’s will launch a major Shakespeare project in partnership with the Royal Shakespeare Company, with readings and lessons from actors including Niamh Cusack and Jamie Wilkes on the educational website BBC Bitesize.

“While the weeks ahead may see many forms of retail opening again, culture will effectively remain in quarantine for some time,” Lord Hall said in a blog post.

“Many theatres have had to face up to the fact they are unlikely to be able to produce new work until the second half of 2021. For some the consequences will be devastating.

“It has left me more convinced than ever that the BBC has an essential role to play as ringmaster and champion for the arts in this country.”

News from: BBC News

Written by Nicky Wicky

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