Royal Opera House London
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Agon Mixed Bill: Presented at The Royal Opera House in London by The Royal Ballet. George Balanchine's Agon, his final collaboration with Igor Stravinsky, continues to look as radically inventive as it must have done in 1957. Sphinx, Glen Tetley's meditation on the Oedipus myth was originally choreographed for American Ballet Theatre in 1977. Wayne McGregor, the Company's Resident Choreographer since 2006, makes the first of this Season's new works, Limen, with music by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho.
Sleeping Beauty: Presented at The Royal Opera House in London by The Royal Ballet. Ever since 1939, when Ninette de Valois first had The Sleeping Beauty staged in London for her young Vic-Wells company, it has become the emblem of British classical style. It was The Sleeping Beauty that was to reopen Covent Garden in February 1946, when the Company moved from Islington to the West End. The current staging, by Director Monica Mason in conjunction with Christopher Newton for the Company's 75th Anniversary in 2006, pays homage to that famous 1946 production. With its huge cast, fairytale settings and glorious Tchaikovsky score The Sleeping Beauty remains the very essence of classical grandeur.
Tsarina's Slippers: Presented at The Royal Opera House in London by The Royal Opera. Many of Tchaikovsky's stage works are unjustly neglected outside Russia. Now one of the most charming of all, Cherevichki (The Tsarina's Slippers), comes to Covent Garden for the first time, under the baton of Alexander Polianichko and with an almost entirely Russian cast. Based on a Christmas tale by Gogol that mixes realistic village comedy with fairytale fantasy, the plot describes how Vakula the blacksmith flies on the Devil's back to St Petersburg to request a pair of little leather slippers worn by the Tsarina herself in order to win the hand of his beloved Oxana.
The Nutcracker: Presented at The Royal Opera House in London by The Royal Ballet. 'The star of The Nutcracker', says choreographer Peter Wright, 'is Tchaikovsky.' Of course, he's right. The music is the true heart of this ballet, but an equal star is the irresistible joy of Christmas itself. The sincere, heartfelt warmth of Wright's production, which dates from 1984, includes the most glorious Christmas tree of all time.
Der Rosenkavalier: Presented at The Royal Opera House in London by The Royal Opera. Glamorous characters, splendid locations and the rich seductive sounds of a Strauss opera: Der Rosenkavalier returns in the famous and lavish period production by Oscar-winning film director John Schlesinger. Set in mid-18th-century Vienna, this romantic comedy follows the course of love of Sophie and Octavian and the comic downfall of Baron Ochs.
Beatrix Potter/Patineurs: Presented at The Royal Opera House in London by The Royal Ballet. Frederick Ashton's Tales of Beatrix Potter holds its audiences spellbound. From the moment the impish Town Mice tumble down the giant stairs, disbelief is suspended and the enjoyment begins. This sparkling treat begins with Les Patineurs. Astonishingly popular from its first appearance, it interprets the effortless actions of skaters as they glide, turn - and even fall over! The spectacular spinning Blue Skater provides just one of its memorable moments.
La Boheme: Presented at The Royal Opera House in London by The Royal Opera. Puccini's exploration of the joy, anguish and heartbreak of young love has made La bohčme one of the most popular operas of all time. With its succession of passionate arias and duets, this is the ultimate romantic opera. John Copley's production, with unforgettable classical designs and elaborate props, returns to the Covent Garden stage again with an outstanding cast. Prepare yourself for an emotional rollercoaster.
Romeo and Juliet: Presented at The Royal Opera House in London by The Royal Ballet. Romeo and Juliet takes pride of place among full-length 20th-century ballets. Prokofiev's score has inspired dozens of productions but none with more distinction than the staging which Kenneth MacMillan created for The Royal Ballet. Beautifully staged with rich period costumes and designs, Romeo and Juliet will draw you into its intense drama with some of the finest of today's dancers matched to the powerful sounds of Prokofiev's famous music.
The Rakes Progress: Presented at The Royal Opera House in London by The Royal Opera. Stravinsky's gem of 20th-century opera is a timely tale of the perils of success, given a special twist in this memorable production by Robert Lepage, revived by The Royal Opera for the first time. West Coast America of the 1950s and the early days of television give the 'hero' Tom Rakewell his route to fame and fortune - and also to the dramatic decline into madness that follows. With visual references to Hollywood classics and a score that combines the 18th and 20th centuries in a fascinating mix, this is a morality tale of the past with definite messages for the present.
Cosi Fan Tutte: Presented at The Royal Opera House in London by The Royal Opera. Classical opera meets contemporary style in this ever-popular staging of Mozart's operatic gem that brings its look - and its relevance - right up to date. But Jonathan Miller's now-classic production, contemporary and urbane in its staging, also focuses on the timeless themes of a drama that sees two men test the loyalties of their girlfriends to breaking point.
The Gambler: Presented at The Royal Opera House in London by The Royal Opera. This is the first time that The Royal Opera will be performing Prokofiev's opera based on Dostoyevsky's novel of addiction. Sung in David Pountney's English translation, this new production brings together Music Director Antonio Pappano, charismatic director Richard Jones and designer Antony McDonald. And with an especially strong cast to bring the darkly comic quality to life, we can follow it all from the early excitements through to the concluding despair. It's gripping drama and great opera.
Watkins Mixed Bill: Presented at The Royal Opera House in London by The Royal Ballet. One world premiere, two revivals: three cutting-edge works from The Royal Ballet. Exciting young choreographer Jonathan Watkins creates his first new work for The Royal Ballet - and his first piece for the main stage - making for a doubly exciting debut. Also in this programme are Kim Brandstrup's Rushes and Wayne McGregor's Infra, both of which had their premieres in 2008, and are making welcome early returns.
Tamerlano: Presented at The Royal Opera House in London by The Royal Opera. Tamerlano provides a real treat for lovers of Baroque opera, with one of Handel's finest scores presented in the most elegant and beautifully focused of stagings. This production, new to The Royal Opera, has the specialist skills of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment paired to an especially strong cast of singers, with Plácido Domingo and Kurt Streit sharing the central role of Bajazet.