February’s exciting programme of LIVE performances at The Wellesley from the UK’s most prestigious venues opens on Wednesday 7th February with the transmission of Puccini’s best-known opera, ‘Tosca’, from the stage of The Royal Opera House.
Set in Rome in 1800 as Napoleon invades Italy, the plot is essentially melodramatic, involving revenge, betrayal, murder, suicide and passion but includes many of Puccini’s most glorious arias.
The lead role in this production is sung by Canadian soprano Adrianne Pieczonka in her debut as Tosca in the UK. One critic said, “The role is thrillingly sung and came from deep within the character’s psyche.”
The Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of ‘Twelfth Night’ is transmitted on Wednesday 14th February.
The plot centres around the notion of mistaken identity. Viola and her twin brother Sebastian have been shipwrecked; each believes the other to be drowned. Viola disguises herself as a young man and, under the name of Cesario, enters the service of Orsino.
What follows is a wonderfully complex and entertaining romp exploring the ideas of love, attraction, gender and identity.
Adrian Edmonson and Kara Tointon star Malvolio and Olivia in a production that has been lavishly praised by critics, including one who said, ‘Heavens, this does look lovely. The RSC has gone all-out on a sumptuous design (three cheers for Simon Higlett). This is an unending delight; John Hodgkinson is a deliciously mercurial Sir Toby and Michael Cochrane’s Sir Andrew is cherishable. Awash with spectacle and fastidious detail, it’s surely another seasonal hit for the RSC.’
Tennessee Williams’ masterpiece ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’ comes LIVE to The Wellesley in a National Theatre production on Thursday 22 February.
On a steamy night in Mississippi, a Southern family gather at their cotton plantation to celebrate Big Daddy’s birthday. The scorching heat is almost as oppressive as the lies they tell – both to one another and themselves. Brick and Maggie dance round the secrets and sexual tensions that threaten to destroy their marriage. Brick’s career as a football star is over, his love of his dead buddy Skipper and his impotence unspoken.
Hollywood star Sienna Miller takes on the role of Maggie alongside Jack O’Connell as Brick and Colm Meaney as the overbearing and self-deluding Big Daddy.
The play is directed by Benedict Andrews who might be remembered for his startling NT production of ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ starring Gillian Anderson three years ago.
The Royal Ballet’s production of Shakespeare’s ‘A Winter’s Tale’ is transmitted LIVE on Wednesday 28 February.
The ballet – a revival of Christopher Wheeldon’s acclaimed ‘emotionally powerful, intelligent and distinctive’ version first seen in 2014 – opens in London on 13 February. It will feature Lauren Cuthbertson, Edward Watson, Sarah Lamb and Stephen McRae in a ballet about love, jealousy, loss, remorse and reconciliation that has become a modern dance classic since its premier.
‘Tosca’ – Wednesday 7 February at 7.15pm
‘Twelfth Night’ – Wednesday 14 February at 7pm
‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’ – Thursday 22 February at 7pm
‘The Winter’s Tale’ – Wednesday 28 February at 7.15pm
Tickets can be booked online from merlincinemas.co.uk