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The Royal Opera House

Ticket Prices: Luxury Seat £20.00 / Sofa for Two £40.00 / Standard Seat £17.00 / Concession £14.00.  Membership Discount of £3.00 applies.

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Encore: The Nutcracker

Peter Wright’s nigh-on definitive production for The Royal Ballet ranks as one of the most enduring and enchanting versions of The Nutcracker. With its festive period setting, dancing snowflakes and enchanting stage magic, Lev Ivanov’s 1892 ballet has become the perfect Christmas entertainment, with Tchaikovsky’s sumptuous, sugar-spun music the most recognizable of all ballet scores.
Loosely based on the story by E.T.A. Hoffmann, the ballet opens with the lively Christmas party that is hosted by the Stahlbaum family, its Victorian setting captured in opulent detail by Julia Trevelyan Oman’s designs. Wright’s choreography ingeniously incorporates surviving fragments of the ballet’s original material, including the sublime pas de deux for the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Prince.

Sunday 10th December
Show Time: 2.00pm

Rigoletto

Giuseppe Verdi wrote in 1855 that Rigoletto, based on Victor Hugo’s play Le Roi s’amuse, was his ‘best opera’. He had had to overcome state censorship to stage it – the censors objected to its depiction of an immoral ruler – but he was vindicated by the premiere’s huge success in 1851. Rigoletto was performed 250 times in the next 10 years and has remained one of the most popular of all operas.
David McVicar’s production highlights the cruelty at the heart of the court of Mantua. Richly dressed courtiers engage in orgies and revelries to Verdi’s heady, spirited dances. The opera’s many musical highlights include the ebullient ‘La donna è mobile’, in which the Duke boasts of his disregard for women;  and the gorgeous Act III quartet that beautifully weaves the voices together as the story quickens to its shattering conclusion.

Tuesday 16th January
Show Time: 7.15pm

Tosca

 From its strident opening chords, Tosca conjures up a world of political instability and menace. The Chief of Police, Scarpia – one of the most malevolent villains in opera – ruthlessly pursues and tortures enemies of the state. His dark, demonic music contrasts with the expansive melodies of the idealistic lovers, Tosca and Cavaradossi, who express their passion in sublime arias, including ‘Vissi d’arte’ and ‘E lucevan le stelle’. Giacomo Puccini’s dramatic work was a hit with audiences on its 1900 premiere and it remains one of the most performed of all operas – and with its gripping plot and glorious music, it’s easy to see why.
 A candle-lit church, Scarpia’s gloomy study with its hidden torture chamber and the false optimism of a Roman dawn: Jonathan Kent’s handsome production throws into relief the ruthlessly taut drama, as the tension is wound up towards its fateful conclusion.

Wednesday 7th February
Show Time: 7.15pm

The Winter's Tale

Christopher Wheeldon, Artistic Associate of The Royal Ballet, created his adaptation of Shakespeare’s late great romance The Winter’s Tale for The Royal Ballet in 2014. Building on the success of Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Winter’s Tale received ecstatic praise at its premiere, acclaimed by critics and audiences alike for its intelligent, distinctive and emotionally powerful story, told through exquisite dance. It is now widely judged to be a modern ballet classic.
The story follows the destruction of a marriage through consuming jealousy, the abandonment of a child and a seemingly hopeless love. Yet, through remorse and regret – and after a seemingly miraculous return to life – the ending is one of forgiveness and reconciliation. With powerful designs by Bob Crowley and atmospheric music by Joby Talbot, The Winter’s Tale is a masterful modern narrative ballet.

Wednesday 28th February
Show Time: 7.15pm

Carmen

Carmen is the best-known work by French composer Georges Bizet, and one of the most famous operas in the entire art form – numbers such as the Habanera and the Toreador Song have permeated the popular consciousness as little else has.
This ever-popular opera is given a fresh point of view in Barrie Kosky’s highly physical production, originally created for Frankfurt Opera. The Australian director is one of the world’s most sought-after opera directors, whose Royal Opera debut with Shostakovich’s The Nose in 2016 was greeted with delight. For Carmen he has devised a far-from-traditional version, incorporating music written by Bizet for the score but not usually heard, and giving a new voice to the opera’s endlessly fascinating central character.

Tuesday 6th March
Show Time: 6.45pm

Bernstein Centenary
New McGregor / The Age of Anxiety / New Wheeldon

To celebrate the centenary year of the composer’s birth, The Royal Ballet has united all three of its associate choreographers to celebrate Bernstein’s music.
At the heart of the programme is the first revival of Artist in Residence Liam Scarlett’s The Age of Anxiety, created in 2014 to Bernstein’s soul-searching Second Symphony.
Both symphony and ballet are inspired by W.H. Auden’s masterful modernist poem, itself written in response to the atmosphere of disillusionment and uncertainty that followed the end of World War II.

Tuesday 27th March
Show Time: 7.15pm

Macbeth

Verdi’s life-long love affair with Shakespeare’s works began with Macbeth, a play he considered to be ‘one of the greatest creations of man’. With his librettist Francesco Maria Piave Verdi set out to create ‘something out of the ordinary’. Their success is borne out in every bar of a score that sees Verdi at his most theatrical: it bristles with demonic energy.
Phyllida Lloyd’s 2002 production for The Royal Opera is richly hued, shot through with black, red and gold. The witches – imagined by designer Anthony Ward as strange, scarlet-turbaned creatures – are ever-present agents of fate. Lloyd depicts the Macbeths’ childlessness as the dark sadness lurking behind their terrible deeds. The Royal Opera’s production uses Verdi’s 1865 Paris revision of the opera, which includes Lady Macbeth’s riveting aria ‘La luce langue’.

Wednesday 4th April
Show Time: 7.15pm

Manon

Kenneth MacMillan’s source for Manon was the 18th-century French novel by Abbé Prévost, already adapted for opera by Massenet and Puccini. Renowned dance musician Leighton Lucas and his assistant Hilda Gaunt provided a score drawn from across Massenet’s music, including his famous yearning Elégie as the theme for the lovers. The ballet quickly became a staple of The Royal Ballet’s repertory, and a touchstone of adult, dramatic dance.
MacMillan found new sympathy with the capricious Manon and her struggle to escape poverty. MacMillan’s spectacular ensemble scenes for the whole Company create vivid, complex portraits of the distinct societies of Paris and New Orleans. But it is Manon and Des Grieux’s impassioned pas de deux – recalling the intensity of MacMillan’s earlier Romeo and Juliet – that drive this tragic story, and make Manon one of MacMillan’s most powerful dramas.

Thursday 3rd May
Show Time: 7.15pm

Swan Lake

 It is thanks to the 1895 production by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov that Swan Lake has become part of not only ballet consciousness but also wider popular culture. That success is secured not only by the sublime, symphonic sweep of Tchaikovsky’s score, but also by the striking choreographic contrasts between Petipa’s royal palace scenes and the lyric lakeside scenes created by Ivanov.
 Swan Lake has had a special role in the repertory of The Royal Ballet since 1934. This Season the Company creates a new production with additional choreography by Artist in Residence Liam Scarlett. Scarlett, while remaining faithful to the Petipa-Ivanov text, will bring fresh eyes to the staging of this classic ballet, in collaboration with his long-term designer John Macfarlane.

Tuesday 12th June
Show Time: 7.15pm

Sunday 10th December 2.00pm
The Nutcracker
(Encore)


Tuesday 16th January 7.15pm
Rigoletto

Wednesday 7th February 7.15pm
Tosca

Wednesday 28th February 7.15pm
The Winter’s Tale

Tuesday 6th March 6.45pm
Carmen

Tuesday 27th March 7.15pm
Bernstein Centenary

Wednesday 4th April 7.15pm
Macbeth

Thursday 3rd May 7.15pm
 Manon

Tuesday 12th June 7.15pm
Swan Lake