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Celebrating the silver screen

This year is the 25th anniversary of the partnership between BP and the Royal Opera House which has beamed live ballet and opera to half a million people in towns and cities across the UK. It began with various small projects until 2000, when the first Big Screen programme saw a single “outside broadcast” screen rigged up in Covent Garden. By last year, 45,000 people were watching free opera and ballet from

This year’s season begins with La Traviata, continues with La Bohème and concludes with Rigoletto: all of which will be performed at Covent Garden and broadcast to the free screens round the UK. In a move which may please the crowds but disappoint the opera buffs, the screen broadcasts promise a range of “extras”: including exclusive backstage films, competitions and live interaction.

On 15th July, La Bohème will be broadcast live to Canary Wharf. La Traviata can be seen on 20th May and Rigoletto on 17th September – both in Walthamstow Town Square, Waltham Forest.

Alex Beard, Chief Executive of The Royal Opera House, said: ‘The BP Big Screens are a great way for new audiences to enjoy opera and ballet. As we look forward to another brilliant summer of free, world-class productions on the big screen, it’s a fitting time to congratulate BP for their twenty five years’ support of the Royal Opera House.”

For the full list of BP Big Screen venues and to watch La traviata online visit www.roh.org.uk/bpbigscreens   To find out more about the Royal Opera House visit www.roh.org.uk.

La Traviata
Based on Alexandre Dumas fils’s play and novel La Dame aux Camélias, this opera is one of Giuseppe Verdi’s most moving and memorable masterpieces, and has become one of the most popular operas in the repertory. Violetta, a Parisian courtesan and one of Verdi’s most complex characters, renounces her indulgent lifestyle for love of Alfredo – only to find that his father wishes her to make a much greater sacrifice.

La Bohème
Puccini deftly blends comedy, romance and tragedy in his depiction of the life of a group of bohemian artists and their girlfriends in 19th-century Paris.  When the idealistic young poet Rodolfo meets the seamstress Mimì it is love at first sight – but the couple’s happiness is cruelly blighted by Mimì’s tuberculosis.

David McVicar’s dark and atmospheric production features strong characterizations and vivid scenery. The production deftly depicts the colourful and corrupt world of the court in 16th century Mantua. The dark and violent themes remain as potent today as ever. The opera tells the story of the jester Rigoletto, cursed by a man he has mocked, who is driven to despair by the seduction of his daughter and later by his increasing obsession with revenge.

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