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English National Opera productions to screen in cinemas

image captionPeter Grimes will be the first ENO production to screen in cinemas

The English National Opera (ENO) is to begin screening its productions in UK and worldwide cinemas.

The company's first foray onto the big screen will be Benjamin Britten's Peter Grimes on 23 February 2014, followed by Berlioz's Benvenuto Cellini in June.

ENO's artistic director John Berry had previously said screenings "are of no interest to me".

The Royal Opera House, meanwhile, began relaying stage productions into cinemas during the 2011-12 season.

New York's Metropolitan Opera was the first to bring opera to a wider audience, while Glyndebourne also followed suit.

In 2012, Berry told The Stage that making productions available in cinemas was "not a priority".

"It doesn't create new audiences either," he added. "This obsession about putting work out into the cinema can distract from making amazing quality work."

The ENO is now embracing the concept, and is set to produce around six performances for cinemas from autumn of next year.

Berry said that "this feels like the right time" and was not convinced that the company had the right resources to tackle the project earlier.

He added that new audiences could be attracted to see opera, and the ENO's challenge is to set its screen productions apart from others.

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