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Friday 22 Aug 2014

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BBC brings opera and ballet from the Royal Opera House on television, radio and online

The Royal Opera House production of The Rake's Progress broadcast on Radio 3 in October 2008

The BBC and Royal Opera House embark upon a new agreement which marks a continuation of their long-running partnership and will bring celebrated opera and ballet productions from the Covent Garden stage, and new documentaries, to audiences throughout the UK.

For the first time, Royal Opera House productions will be available to listen again for up to seven days after broadcast via the BBC iPlayer.

Winter highlights on BBC Four include Nicholas Hytner's acclaimed production of Verdi's Don Carlo with Rolando Villazon performing the title role.

BBC Two and BBC Four will also televise productions from the Royal Ballet's 2009/2010 season, to be announced next month.

In a major new initiative brought about by this partnership, Antonio Pappano, Music Director of the Royal Opera, will present a three-part series, Viva Opera Italia, to be broadcast on BBC Four next year, in which he delves into the power and passion of Italian opera from Monteverdi to Puccini, with some of the world's great singers.

In May this year, BBC Four will televise Wayne McGregor's new productions of Purcell's Dido And Aeneas and Handel's Acis And Galatea. McGregor is the Royal Ballet's resident choreographer and these productions represent his debut as an opera director in this country.

The operas form part of Composers of the Year 2009, a celebration of the anniversaries of Purcell, Handel, Mendelssohn and Haydn across BBC Radio 3, television and online.

Radio 3 broadcasts an eight-week series of operas featured in Royal Opera House's 2008/2009 season.

Launching with Offenbach's The Tales Of Hoffman on 16 May in Saturday evening's Opera On 3, forthcoming programmes include Bellini's I Capuleti e I Montecchi with Anna Netrebko and Elina Garanca; Bryn Terfel performing the role of Wagner's Flying Dutchman and Semyon Bychkov directing Wagner's Lohengrin.

The Radio 3 website will feature in-depth information about the series containing programme information, exclusive interviews with artists, photo galleries and a new Opera On 3 speech podcast.

Since the opening season following Covent Garden's redevelopment, the BBC has televised many Royal Opera House productions.

Highlights over recent years have also included Wagner's complete Ring cycle, broadcast over two years on BBC Two, and all the major contemporary commissions such as Birtwistle's Minotaur, Ades' The Tempest and the Nicholas Maw's Sophie's Choice, a Radio 3 commission.

The BBC has also televised the major narrative works of Frederick Ashton and Kenneth MacMillan.

Peter Maniura, Head of BBC Classical Music TV, says: "This new partnership allows us to continue to bring the best of opera and ballet to the broadest possible audience whilst harnessing the passion and expertise of the Royal Opera House and its artists through projects like Antonio Pappano’s Opera Italia series."

Roger Wright, Controller, Radio 3, says: "Saturday night has long been the home of opera on Radio 3. Now that Royal Opera programmes are available for the first time on BBC iPlayer our audiences can always find a suitable time to go to the opera! We invite listeners throughout the UK to join us to hear the work of the Royal Opera House, not least during our two-month focus, to experience a wealth of wonderful music and performance."

Tony Hall, Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House, says: "This is a very exciting time for both the Royal Opera House and the BBC. This new contract enables us, in partnership with the BBC, to record the very best of opera and ballet on our stage at Covent Garden and release it to millions of viewers and listeners."

Radio 3 listings

Opera On 3, 6.30pm

16 May – Offenbach: The Tales of Hoffmann

23 May – Korngold: Die Tote Stadt

30 May – Wagner: The Flying Dutchman

6 June – Bellini: I Capuleti e I Montecchi

13 June – R Strauss: Elektra

20 June – Purcell: Dido and Aeneas; Handel Acis and Galatea

27 June – Wagner: Lohengrin

4 July – Berg: Lulu

BBC Four

May (transmission tbc) – Purcell: Dido and Aeneas

May (transmission tbc) – Handel: Acis and Galatea

Notes to Editors

Today's announcement is part of a deeper commitment to arts and music on the BBC over the coming year, with a wide range of initiatives aimed at supporting cultural Britain and better serving the public.

These include: big, bold content ideas like the pan-BBC Poetry season and Radio 3's year-long celebration of Purcell, Handel, Haydn and Mendelssohn; the creation of a new Arts Editor role for BBC News; and a new commitment to partnerships, including a project in development with the Public Catalogue Foundation which could enable the public to view every one of the UK's 200,000 publicly-owned oil paintings online.


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