Press Office

Wednesday 17 Sep 2014

Press Packs

Opera on the BBC: BBC Two

The Metropolitan Opera's production of Simon Boccanegra: credit Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera

What Makes A Great Soprano?

Great artists from the world of opera continue to hold an enduring appeal for audiences across the globe.

In What Makes a Great Soprano?, iconic opera star Dame Kiri Te Kanawa explores the technical, physical and artistic demands of being an international soprano.

What Makes a Great Soprano? also features interviews with conductors, fellow singers and music experts and a selection of Dame Kiri's own favourite performances.

KS4

Gareth Malone: credit BBC/David Illman

Gareth Goes to Glyndebourne

In Gareth Goes To Glyndebourne, Gareth Malone, of BBC Two's The Choir, joins the production team at Glyndebourne to take on the role of chorus master on his first opera.

Having led youth and community projects for Glyndebourne since 2000, Gareth returns to help them discover new young teenage talent. He visits local schools and community groups to handpick young chorus stars for composer Julian Philips' new opera, Knight Crew, performed at Glyndebourne in the spring of 2010.

Knight Crew is the retelling of the legend of King Arthur in an urban, gangland setting, adapted for stage by the novel's author, Nicky Singer. The programmes follow the project from its early stages through to the performance itself.

Twenty Twenty Television

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Imagine: Placido Domingo

In conjunction with the broadcast of Verdi's Simon Boccanegra, there is a further opportunity to see a major profile of Plácido Domingo as broadcast this winter in BBC One's Imagine.

Domingo speaks to Alan Yentob as he approaches the 40th anniversary of his debut at Covent Garden and rehearses in Berlin for his first baritone role since his youth.

Contributors include conductor Zubin Mehta, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, José Carreras and archive interview footage with Luciano Pavarotti. Iambic Productions

KS4

Simon Boccanegra

With the return of Simon Boccanegra to the Royal Opera, Plácido Domingo makes his Royal Opera baritone debut in one of Verdi's most demanding and passionate roles.

Set against the class-driven battle for the control of 14th-century Genoa, the opera sympathetically portrays the embattled Doge of the city as the consequences of his past lead – through an estranged daughter, her competing suitors and a life-long enemy – to his own death.

The Music Director of the Royal Opera, Antonio Pappano, conducts a formidable international cast in the 1881 version of the opera, staged in Elijah Moshinsky's classic production.

KS4

Verdi: The Director's Cut

A powerful 60-minute film, which traces the production of two very different Verdi works – and two of the grandest of Grand Operas – Aida, performed on the spectacular floating stage at Bregenz, and the Birmingham Opera Company production of Othello.

Both works have been plucked out of the traditional opera house setting and thrust into contemporary environments by one of the foremost opera directors of our times, Graham Vick.

Othello is a radical production featuring an outstanding cast, led by Ronald Samm – opera's first ever black Othello – joined by a company of more than 250 actors, singers and dancers who live and work in Birmingham.

With huge choruses, imposing sets, mass scenes and dramatic duets, Aida lends itself perfectly to the grandiose and opulent setting of Bregenz's floating stage.

Featuring behind-the-scenes production footage, full access to Vick and his cast through their rehearsal period, and selected scenes from the final productions themselves, this film tells the inside story of one truly extraordinary opera director; his life and career, and two of his most groundbreaking productions.

Both Othello and Aida bristle with passion and encompass the eternal themes of cultural identity, hatred and imperialism.

KS4

Othello: credit Roy Peters

Othello

Shakespeare's great tragedy inspired music of extraordinary ferocity, violence and beauty from one of opera's most popular composers, Giuseppe Verdi.

Birmingham Opera Company Artistic Director Graham Vick masterminds this radical opera event, with tenor Ronald Samm and a company of more than 250 actors, singers and dancers drawn from the community.

Verdi's Othello explores the corrupting, immobilising power of fear in both the individual and the collective consciousness. So Iago's manipulation of fear in Othello fuels his underlying mistrust and paranoia. This need for identity is a primal one. Seeds of doubt, fed by half lies, eat at the foundations on which a whole persona, a whole society, is built. Fear takes hold and the veneer begins to peel and, when eroded, personalities disintegrate.

KS4

Information for viewers

More content about Gareth Goes To Glyndebourne will be published, as transmission approaches, on this page:
www.bbc.co.uk/tv/comingup/gareth-goes-to-glyndebourne

More content about Verdi: The Director's Cut will be published, as transmission approaches, on this page:
www.bbc.co.uk/tv/comingup/verdi-the-directors-cut

More content about Opera on the BBC will be published, as transmission approaches, on this page:
www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/opera/broadcasts

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