The Covent Garden-based Royal Opera House (ROH) has announced that its 2022-23 cinema season will comprise 13 productions, including three world premieres – making this year its biggest so far.
The seven shows from the Royal Opera and six from the Royal Ballet will be broadcast live to more than 1,300 cinemas worldwide, bringing world-class performances to audiences from the UK to New Zealand.
The cinema season opens in September with Puccini’s Madama Butterfly (1904). Set in 19th-century Japan, this heart-rending opera tells the tale of Cio-Cio-San, a young geisha who falls in love with an American soldier and pays the ultimate price.
Broadcast live on 27 September from 7.15pm, the performance stars Italian soprano Maria Agresta as Cio-Cio-San – the Butterfly of the title – and American tenor Joshua Guerrero as Lieutenant Pinkerton, the man she falls in love with. An encore will take place at 2pm on 2 October.
Robert Carsen’s brand-new production of Aida (1871) situates Verdi’s large-scale political drama within a contemporary world in which love and duty collide and nations clash.
Broadcast live at 6:45pm on 12 October, this performance stars Russian soprano Elena Stikhina as the eponymous heroine; Italian tenor Francesco Meli is the ambitious soldier who must wrestle with his feelings for her. It is conducted by ROH’s music director Antonio Pappano. The encore takes place at 2pm on 16 October.
On 20 October at 7:15pm, cinema audiences will have the opportunity to watch Richard Jones’s classic production of Puccini’s La bohème (The Bohemians, 1896), sung by an outstanding cast that includes Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Flórez as penniless poet Rodolfo and American soprano Ailyn Pérez as Mimì, the tragic seamstress with whom he falls in love. The encore is on 23 October at 2pm.
Heading into the new year, 15 February 2023, at 7pm, sees a live stream of Rossini’s comic opera, The Barber of Seville (1816). Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel features as Don Basilio, while Polish baritone Andrzej Filonczyk sings the role of Figaro, the titular barber. Russian mezzo-soprano Aigul Akhmetshina is the beautiful Rosina, with American tenor Lawrence Brownlee as the smitten Count Almaviva. The encore is at 2pm on 19 February 2023.
Puccini’s final opera, Turandot (1926), will be broadcast at 7:15pm on 22 March 2023. In the court of Princess Turandot, suitors who fail to solve her riddles are brutally killed. But when a mysterious prince answers correctly, suddenly he holds all the power.
The cast includes Italian soprano Anna Pirozzi as the eponymous princess, with American tenor Russell Thomas as Prince Calaf. The encore takes place at 2pm on 26 March 2023.
Thursday 27 April 2023 sees a special screening of The Marriage of Figaro (1786), Mozart’s great comic opera of intrigue, misunderstanding and forgiveness. The encore is on 30 April 2023 at 2pm.
Recorded in January 2022, the production includes Italian bass Riccardo Fassi as Figaro and Italian soprano Giulia Semenzato as his beloved Susanna. Italian baritone Davide Luciano sings the role of Count Almaviva, with Italian soprano Federica Lombardi as the Countess.
The final opera in ROH’s cinema season is a new production of Verdi’s Il trovatore (The Troubadour, 1853), broadcast on 13 June 2023 at 7:15pm. The encore is at 2pm on 18 June 2023.
In this tale of superstition and rivalry, passions run high as Manrico and the Count di Luna compete for the affections of Leonora. French baritone Ludovic Tézier sings the role of the Count, with Azerbaijani tenor Yusif Eyvazov as his military – and love – rival Manrico.
In addition to the operas, the ROH cinema season also features a selection of productions from the Royal Ballet. These include first night screenings of Kenneth MacMillan’s Mayerling (broadcast live at 7.15pm on 5 October 2022; encore at 2pm on 9 October 2022) and The Royal Ballet: A Diamond Celebration – which includes George Balanchine’s Diamonds, the company’s first performance of For Four by artistic associate Christopher Wheeldon, and three world premieres (live: 16 November 2022, 7:15pm; encore: 20 November 2022, 2pm).
The rest of the programme comprises Christmas favourite The Nutcracker (live: 8 December 2022 at 7:15pm; encore: 11 December 2022 at 2pm); Christopher Wheeldon’s Like Water for Chocolate (special screening: 19 January 2023, 7:15pm; encore: 22 January 2023, 2pm); a new production of Frederick Ashton’s Cinderella (live: 12 April 2023, 7:15pm; encore: 16 April 2023, 2pm); and The Sleeping Beauty (live: 24 May 2023, 7:15pm; encore: 28 May 2023, 2pm).
Booking opens on 1 July. Further details are available from ROH Cinema.
A live broadcast of Puccini’s tragic opera Madama Butterfly kicks off the Royal Opera House’s cinema season for 2022-23 (Bill Cooper).