Greg King previews the 2010 season.
Palace cinemas are screening a series of filmed live theatrical performances under the umbrella of their Opera and Ballet season. These films feature performances from some of Europe’s top opera and ballet companies; and there even a couple of plays from Shakespeare’s world famous Globe Theatre. These filmed performances screen over one weekend each month at selected Palace Cinemas. For screening details you can check out the website at www.palaceoperandballet.com for more information, cinemas and bookings, or check daily papers for screening information.
Included in the program are the following:
The Glynebourne Opera’s production of Verdi’s Falstaff – April 23, 24, 25 and 28
The Glynebourne Opera’s production of Donizetti’s L’Elisir D’Amore – May 21, 22, 23 and 26
The Royal Opera’s production of Puccini’s La Boheme – June 11, 12, 13 and 16
Tchaikovsky’s The Tsarina’s Slippers – July 2, 3, 4 and 7
The Royal Opera’s production of Verdi’s Don Carlo – July 23, 24, 25 and 28, directed by Nicholas Hytner
The Royal ballet’s production of Liszt’s Mayerling – August 13, 14, 15 and 18
The Royal ballet’s Ondine – September 3, 4, 5 and 8
The Globe Theatre’s production of Shakespeare’s comedy Love’s Labour’s Lost – September 17, 18, 19 and 22
All productions come with a fifteen-minute intermission, which is handy as Don Carlo runs for 210 minutes, and The Tsarina’s Slippers clocks in at a massive 190 minutes.
Falstaff is Verdi’s final opera, and is loosely based on Shakespeare’s comedy The Merry Wives Of Windsor. Sir John Falstaff (played by British baritone Christopher Purves) is a corpulent philanderer and legendary seducer. But the outraged citizens of Windsor plot an elaborate scheme to humiliate him. There is some slapstick comedy here as well. However, the final act left me a bit bemused. Here the action takes place in a wooded area late at night, and all the characters are dressed as fairies, imps and various other fanciful creatures. It is a surreal scene that contrasts strangely with the more humourous tone of the first two acts. I am no fan of opera, but watching the whole thing unfold on screen with the aid of subtitles makes the story a lot easier to follow. And the staging is certainly impressive, with lavish sets, costumes and production values.