Squares, piazzas and parks around the country will once more showcase world-class opera and dance for free this summer with the return of BP Summer Big Screens.
Two of opera’s most popular pieces – Bizet’s Carmen (1875) and Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro (1786) – will be streamed to huge screens at 24 locations across Britain, from Aberdeen to the Isle of Wight. The Royal Ballet’s Romeo and Juliet will also be shown.
Award-winning director Barrie Kosky’s exuberant take on Carmen will be screened on 2 July. With cabaret ensemble numbers and high-kicking dancers, this production has proven hugely popular with audiences. The Royal Opera’s The Marriage of Figaro is set to be screened on 9 July. This sparkling comedy is given a sumptuous staging by David McVicar, its stunning score is fast-moving in this hilarious production; it will also be live streamed on the Royal Opera House’s Facebook and YouTube pages. The operas start at 19.00, with exclusive behind-the-scenes content from 30 minutes before curtain up.
BP Summer Big Screens have been running since 1987, growing in popularity over the years. The Royal Opera House claims that more than half a million people have attended the screenings, while in 2018, 41,500 people saw a free opera or ballet performance at one of 40 screenings in 20 different locations. The ROH and BP say bring a picnic and arrive early to ensure you get a spot. Given the vagaries of the British summer you might want to take a blanket and waterproof, too.
This year the programmes will be presented by TV presenter and fashionista Gok Wan. He commented: “As a huge opera and ballet fan, I love the BP Big Screens. It’s fantastic that 24 sites across the UK become opera houses or ballet stages for the night and share in the magical performances live from London’s Covent Garden. Outdoor cinema is now one of the nation’s favourite summer pastimes and each summer the Royal Opera House BP Big Screens give everyone access to free culture on their doorstep, a great experience for free!”
BP Big Screens returns to locations across Britain this summer, with Carmen showing on 2 July.