WHAT'S ON

IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE

Tues 24th December
Frank Capra’s 1946 Christmas classic follows the tribulations of small town everyman George Bailey (James Stewart), who, at the end of his luck and deep in debt, contemplates suicide one snowy, bleak Christmas Eve. But when George wishes that he had never been born, his guardian angel Clarence (Henry Travers) takes a trip from the heavens to persuade him otherwise.

ROYAL BALLET: THE SLEEPING BEAUTY

Thurs 16th January
This production of The Sleeping Beauty has been delighting audiences in Covent Garden since 1946. A classic of Russian ballet, it established The Royal Ballet both in its new home after World War II and as a world-class company. Sixty years later, in 2006, the original staging was revived, returning Oliver Messel’s wonderful designs and glittering costumes to the stage. Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky’s enchanting score and Marius Petipa’s original choreography beautifully combine with sections created for The Royal Ballet by Frederick Ashton, Anthony Dowell and Christopher Wheeldon. This ballet is sure to cast its spell over anyone who sees it.

ROYAL OPERA: LA BOHEME

Wed 29th January
Puccini’s opera of young love in 19th-century Paris is packed with beautiful music, including lyrical arias, celebratory choruses for Act II’s evocation of Christmas Eve in the Latin Quarter and a poignant final scene over which the composer himself wept.

ROYAL OPERA: FIDELIO

17th March 2020
Beethoven’s only opera is a masterpiece, an uplifting story of risk and triumph. In this new production, conducted by Antonio Pappano, Jonas Kaufmann plays the political prisoner Florestan, and Lise Davidsen his wife Leonore (disguised as ‘Fidelio’) who daringly sets out to rescue him. Set in strong counterpoint are the ingredients of domestic intrigue, determined love and the cruelty of an oppressive regime. The music is transcendent throughout and includes the famous Act I Quartet, the Prisoners’ Chorus and Florestan’s impassioned Act II cry in the darkness and vision of hope. Tobias Kratzer’s new staging brings together the dark reality of the French Revolutionary ‘Terror’ and our own time to illuminate Fidelio’s inspiring message of shared humanity.

ROYAL BALLET: SWAN LAKE

Weds 1st April
Liam Scarlett’s glorious production of Swan Lake, new in 2018, returns for its first revival. While remaining faithful to the Marius Petipa/Lev Ivanov text, Scarlett’s additional choreography and John Macfarlane’s magnificent designs breathe new life into what is arguably the best-known and most-loved classical ballet.

ROYAL OPERA: CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA & PAGLIACCI

Tue 21st April
Two opera classics are drawn together in this wonderfully observed re-creation of life in a south Italian village as a travelling theatre visits and emotions erupt. The award-winning production by Damiano Michieletto presents vividly the fast-moving, shocking events brought about by secret love and uncontrollable jealousy.

ROYAL BALLET: THE DANTE PROJECT

Thu 28th May
Dante’s Divine Comedy is an epic journey through the afterlife: it encompasses the horrifying drama of Inferno and its damned, the lyrical mysticism of pilgrims on mount Purgatorio and the dazzling spheres of Paradiso with their endless configurations of light.

ROYAL OPERA: ELEKTRA

Thu 18th June
Strauss’s thrilling and audacious adaptation of Greek tragedy receives a new staging by the award-winning director Christof Loy. This uncompromising opera, about a daughter intent on bloody revenge and a mother driven to madness, has provoked critics to lively debate and both shocked and excited audiences since its 1909 premiere.