The Wellesley Cinema is delivering some outstanding and varied LIVE entertainment to audiences in Wellington throughout January.
The month opens with two screenings of Andre Rieu’s New Year Concert, captured LIVE in Sydney and transmitted on Saturday 5 January at 7pm and Sunday 6 January at 3pm. One of the world’s most popular musicians, Rieu needs no introduction and his concerts are always spectacularly successful.
Simon Russell Beale, regarded as one of the UK’s finest Shakespearian actors, takes on the title role in ‘The Tragedy of King Richard The Second’ relayed LIVE from London’s Almeida Theatre on Tuesday 15 January at 7pm.
King Richard II is the male ruler of an independent state who inherits the position by right of birth. He is arrogant, reckless and vain. His weak leadership sends his kingdom into disarray and his court into uproar. Disinherited and exiled from the kingdom, the ambitious Bolingbroke challenges the throne and the king’s divine right to rule.
The production conveys elements of the children’s game ‘I’m the King of the Castle’ in which each child attempts to stand alone on a mound, or sandcastle, by pushing other children off it.
Simon Russell Beale’s performance has been called ‘a masterclass’, and the production has won plaudits for its ‘fresh, challenging, stripped back’ qualities‘; it’s running time is just 1 hour 45 minutes.
The Royal Opera House production of Tchaikovsky’s most ambitious opera, ‘The Queen of Spades’ receives star treatment in Stefan Herheim’s staging, with a cast including Eva-Maria Westbroek, Felicity Palmer and Aleksandrs Antonenko, relayed LIVE from the ROH on Monday 28 January at 7.15pm.
Based on a story by Pushkin, the narrative is as follows: the penniless soldier Gherman has fallen in love with Liza, even though she is engaged to his friend Yeletsky. Gherman learns that Liza’s grandmother the Countess knows a winning three-card formula. Gherman determines to wrest the secret from the Countess, gain a fortune through gambling and marry Liza.
Gherman and Liza admit they love each other, and Gherman persuades Liza to let him into the Countess’s room. But when he tries to wrest the Countess’s secret from her, she dies of fright. The following evening, the Countess’s ghost appears to Gherman. She commands him to marry Liza and tells him the ‘secret of the three cards’.
The Evening Standard’s critic said, ‘Tchaikovsky’s ‘The Queen of Spades’ could serve as a public health warning about the perils of gambling. Its three central characters all end up dead, one as a direct result of his gambling obsession (which grows from, and quickly replaces, his sexual infatuation), the other two as collateral damage.’
The second LIVE relay from the ROH comes on Wednesday 30 January at 6.45pm with a transmission of Verdi’s opera enormously successful ‘La Traviata’ starring Placido Domingo. Richard Eyre’s revival, which premiered at the ROH in January 2017, is hailed as ‘stunning’.
The plot follows Violetta’s scandalous relationship with Alfredo which jeopardizes Giorgio Germont’s daughter’s engagement. Germont persuades Violetta to leave his son. Heartbroken, Violetta promises not to tell Alfredo why. Alfredo is stunned when Violetta disappears, and decides she must have left him from self-interest. He confronts her at a Paris party and leaves her. Only when Violetta is dying does he learn the truth.
On Thursday 31 January the National Theatre’s production of David Hare’s new play, ‘I’m Not Running’ is relayed from the stage of London’s Lyttleton Theatre.
The narrative has significant topical resonances. Pauline Gibson is a junior doctor, who becomes the face of a campaign to save her local hospital. She’s thrust from angel of the NHS, to becoming an independent MP.
In the Houses of Parliament, she crosses paths with her university boyfriend, Jack Gould, a stalwart Labour loyalist, climbing the ranks of the party.
As media and public pressure mounts on Pauline to run for leadership of the Labour party, she faces an agonising decision.
David Hare’s explosive new play, set in 2018, portrays personal choices and their public consequences, through a twenty year intimate friendship. It shows Hare’s capacity to use theatre to take the moral temperature of the times.
Saturday 5 January @ 7pm: ‘Andre Rieu’s New Year Concert from Sydney’
Sunday 6 January @ 3pm: ‘Andre Rieu’s New Year Concert from Sydney’
Tuesday 15 January @ 7pm: ‘The Tragedy of King Richard The Second’
Monday 28 January @ 7.15pm: ‘The Queen of Spades’
Wednesday 30 January @ 6.45pm: ‘La Traviata’
Thursday 31 January @ 7pm: ‘I’m Not Running’
Tickets and further information from the Wellesley Cinema’s website.