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Free ballet, opera and theatre screenings you can catch online

Here's a list of free online ballet, opera and theatre screenings you can stream while you continue social distancing during the Level 3 lockdown.

Free ballet streamings


Join the English National Ballet for Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Song of the Earth, available for 48 hours from Wednesday, 17 June until Friday, 19 June. Inspired by Mahler’s haunting song cycle Das Lied von der Erde, MacMillan’s masterpiece brings music, poetry and choreography together to capture the fragility of life and its constant renewal. Three central figures portray the bittersweet reality of love, loss and mortality: a Woman, a Man and an enigmatic Messenger. First performed in 1965, Song of the Earth was a point of departure for MacMillan’s choreography, surprising and captivating audiences and critics. English National Ballet was honoured to add this revered MacMillan work to its repertoire and is delighted to be able to share it again with audiences across the world. This performance was filmed at the Palace Theatre Manchester in October 2017



Frederick Ashton's La Fille mal gardée (The Wayward Daughter) is one of the choreographer's most joyous and colourful creations and The Royal Opera House streams it from 12–26 June. Inspired by his love for the Suffolk countryside, the ballet is set on a farm and tells a story of love between Lise, the daughter of Widow Simone and Colas, a young farmer. It contains some of Ashton's most stunning choreography, most strikingly in the series of energetic pas de deux that express the youthful passion of the young lovers, performed here by Marianela Nuñez and Carlos Acosta. The ballet is laced with exuberant good humour, and elements of national folk dance, from dancing chickens and a maypole dance to a Lancashire clog dance for Widow Simone, performed with wit and charm by William Tuckett. Osbert Lancaster’s colourful designs heighten the production’s delightful pastoral wit.



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Live from Covent Garden on 13 June will celebrate ballet and opera in programmes of dance and music, curated by artistic directors of the Royal Opera House: Antonio Pappano, music director of The Royal Opera, Oliver Mears, director of Opera, and Kevin O’Hare, director of The Royal Ballet.  Highlights include an intimate new ballet choreographed by Royal Ballet resident choreographer Wayne McGregor and performances by world-class singers including Louise Alder, Toby Spence and Gerald Finley, of a range of repertoire by composers from Handel, Butterworth and Britten to Mark-Anthony Turnage.



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The Royal Opera House is also offering free live streamings


Contrast is the essence of Giacomo Puccini’s operatic triptych, Il Trittico that streams until 19 June. The one-act works that form the trilogy – Il tabarro, Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi – range from gritty melodrama to life-affirming comedy. While each opera stands alone, the three come together to create a sense of a complete event, rich in textures and musical forms. Director Richard Jones matches the eclectic range of Puccini’s music in a production of great verve and invention, moving from the grimy banks of the Seine to a children’s hospital and from there to a garish apartment in 1950s Italy.



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David McVicar’s classic production of The Magic Flute is streamed from 19 June to 3 July and embraces both the seriousness and comedy of Mozart’s glorious opera, transporting us to a fantastical world of dancing animals, flying machines and dazzling starry skies. The setting provides a wonderful backdrop for Mozart’s kaleidoscopic score, from the Queen of the Night’s coloratura fireworks to Tamino and Pamina’s lyrical love duets and Papageno’s hearty, folksong-like arias.

Watch here

Enjoy a feast of free National Theatre and Met Opera streamings during lockdown

If you are looking for world-class entertainment in the comfort and safety of your house during the lockdown, you can indulge in daily free streamings from the National Theatre in London and the Met Opera in New York...

By Daniel Dercksen 8 May 2020


Live from the National Theatre


The Nottingham Playhouse’s production of The Madness of George III will be streaming from 11 June on the National Theatre’s YouTube channel, then on demand for one week only. With the King’s mind unravelling at a dramatic pace, ambitious politicians and the scheming Prince of Wales join forces to undermine the power of the Crown and expose the fine line between a King and a man. Olivier Award-winners Mark Gatiss (Sherlock, The League of Gentlemen) and Adrian Scarborough (Gavin and Stacey) feature in Alan Bennett’s (The History Boys, The Lady in the Van) multi award-winning drama.



Opera From The Metropolitan Opera in New York


In a rebroadcast of The Met’s At-Home Gala, more than 40 leading artists and members of the Met Orchestra and Chorus perform virtually from their homes around the world, with general manager Peter Gelb and music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin as hosts (13 and 14 June);  Renée Fleming stars in the title role of one of Handel’s greatest dramas, Rodelinda (15 June); Mary Zimmerman’s fanciful production of Rossini’s drama Armida (16 June), designed by Richard Hudson and with choreography by Graciela Daniele, provides the perfect setting for superstar Renée Fleming’s captivating performance of the title role; Soprano Angela Meade is the fierce title monarch in Rossini’s Semiramide (17 June), whose quest for power comes to a halt with the discovery that the object of her affection, the warrior Arsace—sung by mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong—may actually be her long-lost son; Gluck’s gripping adaptation of the ancient Greek myth Iphigénie en Tauride (18 June) is vividly brought to life by a stellar cast in Stephen Wadsworth’s atmospheric production; legendary Leontyne Price is seen in one of her greatest roles in Verdi’s La Forza del Destino (19 June); there are two operas by Philip Glass’s Akhnaten (20 June) and Satyagraha (21 June); and soprano Sonya Yoncheva offers a fearless and sympathetic performance from beginning to end in Verdi’s La Traviata (22 June), with American tenor Michael Fabiano as her devoted lover Alfredo.

Registration and streaming of the Met Operas are free: www.metopera.org

For more information on these live streamings, visit: writingstudio.co.za

About Daniel Dercksen

As a freelance film and theatre journalist for more than 30 years, published playwright and creator of the independent training initiative The Writing Studio, Daniel Dercksen has been a contributor for Lifestyle since 2012. Visit www.writingstudio.co.za
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