#OperaPassion Day takes us behind the scenes at eight UK opera houses



On Thursday 19 October, opera companies from across the UK join together with the BBC and the V&A for eight hours of live streaming and behind-the-scenes access to the vibrant world of opera. Entitled #OperaPassion, partner houses include the Royal Opera House, English National Opera, English Touring Opera, Opera North, Glyndebourne, Welsh National Opera, Scottish Opera and Northern Ireland Opera.

What’s happening – highlights

The live stream begins at 11am, when Katie Derham and curator Kate Bailey take viewers on a walk around the V&A’s exhibition “Opera: Passion, Power & Politics”.

At 11.30am, the Royal Opera House takes us backstage into rehearsals for Lucia di Lammermoor, which stars Christopher Maltman as Enrico Ashton.

At 2pm, BBC Radio 3 will broadcast a 2013 performance from the Royal Opera House of Verdi’s Nabucco, with Placido Domingo in the title role, Andrea Caré as Ismaele and Robert Lloyd as the High Priest of Baal.

At 4pm, Northern Ireland Opera will broadcast live from rehearsals for Così fan tutte, in which Samuel Dale Johnson is singing Guiglielmo.

^ Eleanor Dennis

From 5 to 6pm, Eleanor Dennis & David Webb join grime impresario and SB.TV founder Jamal Edwards for English National Opera’s live stream, which takes us backstage before the evening’s production of Aida, which stars Michelle DeYoung, Brindley Sherratt, Eleanor and David.


Also at 5pm, BBC In Tune will broadcast live from the V&A, with special performances from artists including Soraya Mafi and Matthew Durkan.

The day will culminate at 7.30pm on BBC Radio 3 where listeners have the chance to vote for the opera of their choice to be broadcast in full from four Royal Opera House production recordings:

• Gounod’s Faust
• Mozart’s The Magic Flute, with Christiane Karg as Pamina
• Puccini’s Tosca, with Angela Gheorghiu in the title role
• Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman, with Peter Rose as Daland

Voting remains open until 4pm on 19 October. Vote here.

View the running order here. Watch all the action on the BBC Arts online #OperaPassion page, from 11am on Thursday 19 October.

#OperaPassion | bbc.in/OperaPassion

^ Luis Gomes © Renato Guerra

Plus, at 1pm, Luis Gomes & soprano Katherine Crompton perform a free lunchtime recital of Mozart, Rachmaninov, Smetana and more in the Tapestries Gallery of the V&A. Part of “National Opera Studio at the V&A”.

BBC Opera Season

#OperaPassion day is part of the BBC’s Opera Season, which includes an exhibition exploring 400 years of opera at the V&A “Opera: Passion, Power & Politics”, radio broadcasts of each of the seven operas featured in the exhibition, TV programmes and opera performances on BBC Two and BBC Four, plus online access to Semele from Garsington Opera, with Jonathan Cohen, Heidi Stober, Robert Murray, David Soar and Christine Rice.

Brett Dean’s new adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet – recorded at the 2017 Glyndebourne Festival and starring Dame Sarah Connolly and Rod Gilfry – will be broadcast on BBC Four on Sunday 22 October.

Keith Warner’s new production of Otello, which opened at the Royal Opera House this summer with Jonas Kaufmann in the title role and Frédéric Antoun in his role debut as Cassio, was broadcast on BBC Four on 15 October, and is available to watch on demand for 30 days.

The exhibition, which runs until 25 February 2018, focuses on seven premieres in seven European cities, culminating in the international explosion of opera in the 20th and 21st centuries, including George Benjamin’s Written on Skin. Read: “How George Benjamin’s opera Written on Skin creates music drama for the 21st century”

Find out more about the BBC Opera Season here.

Main photo image credit: Norio NAKAYAMA via Flickr, under CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

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