LIVE performances screened direct from the country’s theatres in October to The Wellesley open with Oscar Wilde’s classic social satire ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ on Tuesday 9 October at 7.15pm from London’s Vaudeville Theatre.
Regarded as Wilde’s masterpiece, this production by the new company, Classic Spring, stars Olivia Award winner Sophie Thompson, Jeremy Swift (Downton Abbey) and Fiona Button (The Split). Whilst critics have been less than wholly positive about the accent on high comedy, farce and raciness instead of Wilde’s skilful use of language, audiences are said to have been delighted and richly entertained.
A performance of Cliff Richard’s 60th Anniversary Tour is screened LIVE on Friday 12 October at 8.00pm from Manchester Bridgewater Hall.
The tour opens in Belfast on 30 September and is already largely sold out. Cliff needs no introduction as the country’s musical treasure. He has recorded 103 albums, has had 123 hit singles and has spent 20 years in the charts. This tour celebrates Cliff’s 60 years in the business.
The Royal Ballet’s production of ‘Mayerling’ comes LIVE to The Wellesley on Monday 15 October at 7.15pm.
‘Mayerling’ is based on the true story of the deaths of Crown Prince Rudolf and his teenage mistress Mary Vetsera in 1889.
Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria-Hungary is emotionally unstable and haunted by his obsession with death. He is forced to marry Princess Stephanie. Soon afterwards his former lover Marie Larisch introduces him to a new mistress, Mary Vetsera, a young woman who shares his morbid fascination.
At the hunting lodge Mayerling, Rudolf and Mary form a suicide pact. They make love before Rudolf shoots first Mary and then himself. The royal family desperately covers up the tragedy.
This dark and intense ballet was created for The Royal Ballet in 1978 and is regarded by many as among Kenneth MacMillan’s finest works. The screening stars Steven McRae and Sarah Lamb. It has received 5 star reviews as “a night of stupendous transcendent ballet.” One critic said, “Every ballet fan should see this.”
‘Funny Girl: The Musical’ is transmitted on Wednesday 24 October at 7.00pm. This hit production starring Sheridan Smith was recorded during the final week of the UK tour in August.
The semi-autobiographical plot based on the life and career of Broadway star, film actress and comedian Fanny Brice features her stormy relationship with entrepreneur and gambler Nick Arnstein. Its original title was My Man.
Smith said of the release: “Fanny Brice was an extraordinary woman who broke the mould for female entertainment, not only that, she was a brilliant comic! Her lack of vanity and her goofiness made her unique and very special, and the role was an utter joy to play. I’m beyond excited to be able to share our production of Funny Girl with audiences across the UK.”
Smith was universally applauded for her performance as Brice, singing songs including “You Are Woman, I Am Man” and “Don’t Rain on My Parade”.
Wagner’s ‘Die Walkure’ comes to The Wellesley LIVE from the stage on The Royal Opera House on Sunday 28 October at 5.00pm. This is the last performance of the opera.
Antonio Pappano conducts a cast which includes Stuart Skelton, Emily Magee, John Lungren and Nina Stem.
The opera, the second in Wagner’s Ring Cycle, tells the story of twins Siegmund and Sieglinde, separated at birth, who fall in love.
Unknown to them, their father is Wotan, the most powerful of the gods. Through Siegmund, Wotan hopes to retrieve a gold ring of ultimate power that he cannot take himself.
Brother and sister flee, taking with them Nothung, a sword destined for a hero. As goddess of marriage, Wotan’s wife Fricka angrily demands Wotan must not protect his incestuous children to serve his ends. Wotan bitterly concedes. However, Wotan’s daughter Brünnhilde, a Valkyrie, takes it on herself to save Siegmund. Wotan stops her, and Siegmund is killed in battle, his sword shattered.
Brünnhilde does succeed in rescuing Sieglinde who she knows is pregnant with Siegmund’s son, the hero Wotan requires. As punishment for defying him, Wotan incarcerates Brünnhilde in a deep sleep on a mountaintop, protected by magic fire.
Reviews have noted both the power of the production and the visually-stunning staging. The Standard’s critic called it, “visceral and thrilling.”