The Wellesley Cinema’s screenings of world-class LIVE productions over the next few weeks offers three exciting productions for followers of opera, theatre and ballet.
The Royal Opera House production of Bellini’s Norma is transmitted LIVE on Monday 26 September at 7.15pm.
The narrative explores the tangled relationship between priestess Norma and her love for Pollione, leader of the occupying force suppressing her people, with whom she has borne two children. But Pollione’s love has withered, and he now loves Norma’s fellow priestess, Adalgisa. Meanwhile, the people urgently look to Norma to lead their rebellion.
Norma discovers the love between Pollione and Adalgisa and gives the signal for war. Pollione is captured, attempting to steal away with Adalgisa. Norma, called upon to announce a sacrificial victim to consecrate the uprising, declares it shall be a guilty priestess: herself.
This new production of Norma is The Royal Opera’s first in nearly thirty years. Directing is Àlex Ollé, of the Catalan collective La Fura dels Baus. Norma is given a contemporary setting against a backdrop of a cruel civil war, and focuses on the opera’s exploration of the conflict between an individual’s own desires and those of her society – and of religion as a force for unity and destruction.
The production is conducted by Antonia Pappano with Sonya Yoncheva, Joseoh Calleja and Sonia Ganassi in the lead roles. One critic said, “This is striking production and a terrifically enjoyable evening, especially for Yoncheva’s superb assumption of the title role.”
The Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Cymbeline comes LIVE to The Wellesley on Wednesday 28 September at 7pm.
The plot presents Britain as in crisis – alienated, insular and on the brink of disaster. An ineffectual Queen Cymbeline rules over a divided country. Consumed with grief at the death of two of her children, Cymbeline’s judgement is clouded. When Innogen, the only living heir, marries her sweetheart Posthumus in secret, an enraged Cymbeline banishes him.
Behind the throne, a power-hungry figure plots to seize power by murdering them both.
In exile Innogen’s husband is tricked into believing she has been unfaithful to him and in an act of impulsive jealousy begins a scheme to have her murdered. Warned of the danger, Innogen runs away from court in disguise and begins a journey fraught with danger that will eventually reunite Cymbeline with a long-lost heir and reconcile the young lovers.
One commentator said, “With echoes of Brexit and questions of national identity, Melly Still’s direction of Shakespeare’s rarely performed play feels surprisingly contemporary. This new production is vigorous and inventive. All of the performances are good, but this is an evening that belongs to the director.”
Said to be one of the most lavish productions The Australian Ballet has undertaken, the company’s acclaimed version of The Sleeping Beauty is transmitted on Tuesday 4 October at 7pm to celebrate World Ballet Day 2016.
This new production is the first full-length work for The Australian Ballet’s long-time Artistic Director, David McAllister, who took up the role in 2001. An ex-principal dancer with the company, it took nearly two years of creative musings, set and costume designing to bring his vision to the stage.
He has retained Tchaikovsky’s score and much of Petipa’s classic choreography but added Gabriela Tylesova’s opulent design which sets the action in a “jaw-droppingly gorgeous palace” with costumes said to be “possibly some of the most beautiful ever designed. The Australian Ballet has put huge resources into Sleeping Beauty, and it shows.”
World Ballet Day LIVE is a celebration of dance and an opportunity for audiences to see what it takes to be one of the world’s top companies. The Australian Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, The Royal Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada and San Francisco Ballet are collaborating on a full-day of livestreaming, giving viewers around the world with an inside look at five of the world’s leading ballet companies.
For further information and booking contact www.wellesleycinema.co.uk.