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December 15 & 16 & 17
The Duke brothers are dicks. They make a bet of the “usual amount” and agree to conduct an experiment of nature versus nurture by switching the lives of two people at opposite sides of the social hierarchy and observing the results. Dan Aykroyd’s snobbish investor lifestyle gets screwed, while streetwise hustling Eddie Murphy gets to live the good life...until the bet is over and order is to be restored. But when the two guinea pigs hear they were the subject of some old guys’ stupid bet, they enlist the help of their butler (the always great Denholm Elliott) and a smoking hot prostitute with a heart of gold (Jamie Lee Curtis...seriously 1983 was a good year to be a prostitute *see RISKY BUSINESS) to help them not only get their lives back...but get even. This satirical comedy by John Landis is great, but it’s elevated to legendary event status by the knock-you-down-with-greatness performances of Murphy and Ayroyd. They don’t just play characters—they ARE them, and you see them thinking as those characters, which makes the whole film play out all the more gratifyingly. Real life Statler and Waldorf muppets (Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche) fill out the supporting cast that was heralded with a BAFTA win to Curtis for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy. Plop down on a cart and start begging for change from racist old white men because you won’t want to miss TRADING PLACES.
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)(2017)
70th Anniversary presentation. Oscar Winner Edmund Gwenn plays Kris Kringle, a bearded old gent who is the living image of Santa Claus. Serving as a last-minute replacement for the drunken Santa who was to have led Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, Kringle is offered a job as a Macy's toy-department Santa. Supervisor Maureen O'Hara soon begins having second thoughts about hiring Kris: it's bad enough that he is laboring under the delusion that he's the genuine Saint Nick; but when he begins advising customers to shop elsewhere for toys that they can't find at Macy's, he's gone too far! Amazingly, Mr. Macy (Harry Antrim) considers Kris' shopping tips to be an excellent customer-service "gimmick," and insists that the old fellow keep his job. A resident of a Long Island retirement home, Kris agrees to take a room with lawyer John Payne during the Christmas season. It happens that Payne is sweet on O'Hara, and Kris subliminally hopes he can bring the two together. Kris is also desirous of winning over the divorced O'Hara's little daughter Natalie Wood, who in her few years on earth has lost a lot of the Christmas spirit. Complications ensue when Porter Hall, Macy's nasty in-house psychologist, arranges to have Kris locked up in Bellevue as a lunatic. Payne represents Kris at his sanity hearing, rocking the New York judicial system to its foundations by endeavoring to prove in court that Kris is, indeed, the real Santa Claus! We won't tell you how he does it: suffice to say that there's a joyous ending for Payne and O'Hara, as well as a wonderful faith-affirming denouement for little Natalie Wood. 72-year-old Edmund Gwenn won an Oscar for his portrayal of the "jolly old elf" Kringle; the rest of the cast is populated by such never-fail pros as Gene Lockhart (as the beleaguered sanity-hearing judge), William Frawley (as a crafty political boss), and an unbilled Thelma Ritter and Jack Albertson. Based on the novel by Valentine Davies, Miracle on 34th Street was remade twice: once for TV in 1973, and a second time for a 1994 theatrical release, with Richard Attenborough as Kris Kringle.
Bolshoi Ballet: The Nutcracker(2017)
As the clock strikes midnight on Christmas Eve, Marie’s wooden nutcracker doll comes to life and transforms into a prince. Soon joined by her other toys that have also come to life, Marie and her prince embark on a dreamy, unforgettable adventure. A holiday tradition for the whole family, The Nutcracker sweeps the Bolshoi stage for two hours of enchantment and magic. Along with Tchaikovsky’s cherished score and some of the Bolshoi’s greatest artists, The Nutcracker remains a timeless treasure not to be missed.
December 20 & 21 & 22
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)(2017)
Jimmy Stewart and Frank Capra said multiple times that IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE remained their favorite film. Over time the film has gained notoriety as a seminal holiday classic and has been given the distinction of being a sentimental and sometimes corny gem about what’s important in life. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, Capra’s film is one of the psychologically darker and emotional rich Hollywood productions of the 1940s. That’s not to say it isn't uplifting, but the undertones, which were no doubt brought upon by each man’s experience in WWII, allow for a very mature and complex experience. So if you’ve skipped this film because of its reputation as a light, happy Christmas movie do yourself a favor and see this undisputed classic. And if you’re already a fan, nothing says “Merry Christmas, movie house!” like watching it on the big screen at the Liberty Theatre!
December 22 & 23 & 24
A Christmas Story(2017)
Based on the humorous writings of author Jean Shepherd, this beloved holiday movie follows the wintry exploits of youngster Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley), who spends most of his time dodging a bully (Zack Ward) and dreaming of his ideal Christmas gift, a "Red Ryder air rifle." Frequently at odds with his cranky dad (Darren McGavin) but comforted by his doting mother (Melinda Dillon), Ralphie struggles to make it to Christmas Day with his glasses and his hopes intact. Certified 89% FRESH on RottenTomatoes, "Both warmly nostalgic and darkly humorous, A Christmas Story deserves its status as a holiday perennial."
The Royal Ballet: The Nutcracker(2017)
It is Christmas Eve and Drosselmeyer the magician sweeps young Clara away on a fantasy adventure in which time is suspended, the family living room becomes a great battlefield, and a magical journey takes them through the Land of Snow to the Kingdom of Sweets.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets(2017)
In the second installment of the series, Harry eagerly returns to Hogwarts — despite grave warnings and attempts prevent it, courtesy of Dobby the House Elf. Once the new term begins, Harry, Ron and Hermoine face new challenges — like the vainglorious new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Gilderoy Lockhart (the great Kenneth Branagh). Meanwhile, a terrifying dark force stalking the school is turning students (and even ghosts and nosey watch cats) to stone and may just seal the fate of their beloved school forever. That is, unless the trio can solve the *riddle* of what — or who — is behind the attacks and put a stop to them once and for all.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban(2017)
Harry’s third big screen outing, a world-expanding wild ride (much like its book counterpart) from director Alfonso Cuarón (GRAVITY). The start to Harry’s new year at Hogwarts is a doozy: deranged killer Sirius Black (Gary Oldman, crushing it like usual) has escaped from Azkaban Prison and is bent on killing him, Ron and Hermoine are at it again, and a swarm of soul-sucking Dementors is sent to “protect” the school from Black. Oh yeah, and his super helpful new teacher might just be a werewolf. What’s a boy wizard to do? Jam-packed with adventure, AZKABAN takes us deep into the Potterverse, introducing a parade of beloved fixtures and characters (the Knight Bus! Buckbeak! Professor Lupin!) and still stands as one of the very best films in the series.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire(2017)
The game-changing fourth film in the series ups the danger and the darkness — but still with a lot of fantastical fun and friendship along the way. With a dark tide rising in the wizarding world, Harry, Ron and Hermoine return to Hogwarts for their fourth year and find the school abuzz with excitement for the upcoming Triwizard Tournament Despite being too young to compete, Harry finds himself thrown into the magical contest as the unprecedented fourth contestant — but thankfully there’s that mysteriously and very surly new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Madeye Moody (Brendan Gleeson) to help Harry along… With big thrills from the wizard contest and its chilling conclusion, GOBLET OF FIRE is unmissable on the big screen and absolutely pivotal to the Potter saga.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix(2017)
The rebellion begins in this, the fifth installment of Harry’s story. Uneasiness and division grip the magical community, leaving Harry, Ron and Hermoine to grapple with a world where their peers and even those in power don’t know — or refuse to believe — the truth about Harry’s deadly encounter with Lord Voldemort. Not even Hogwarts is immune, as the unbelieving Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, appoints the cruel, power-hungry and grossly cutesy Dolores Umbridge as the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. With Dumbledore in exile, it’s up to Harry and the gang to teach their fellow students real defenses against dark magic, stick it to Dolores, and stand up to the rising tide of evil.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince(2017)
Secrets will be revealed in the tumultuous sixth chapter of the Harry Potter saga. As Death Eaters wreak havoc in both the muggle and wizard worlds, Hogwarts is no longer a safe haven for students. While Harry discovers a seemingly super-insightful new textbook helping him ace potions class, Dumbledore is more intent than ever on preparing the young wizard for the final battle with Voldemort. Meanwhile, teenage hormones run rampant through the school, presenting a decidedly different sort of danger. While love might be in the air, and Harry’s ability at potions may be at all-time high, tragedy will strike changing Hogwarts forever and setting in motion the gripping final act of the magical saga.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1(2017)
It’s the beginning of the end. Taking matters dangerously into their own hands (like usual), Harry, Ron and Hermoine set out to finish Dumbledore’s mission of tracking down and destroying Voldemort’s precious Horcruxes, with very little to go on other than Dumbledore’s oblique clues. And though their mission means relying on one another more than ever, dark forces threaten to tear the trio apart. With Death Eaters in control of the Ministry of Magic and Hogwarts, and evil “Snatchers” hot on the gang’s heels, Harry and his friends must find a way to unite and prepare for the ultimate showdown.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2(2018)
The battle between good and evil escalates into an all-out war. The stakes have never been higher and no one is safe. But it is Harry Potter who may be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice as he draws closer to the showdown with Voldemort.
January 5 & 6
55 years after it was released CHARADE remains a brilliant and lovingly comic ode on the old school Hollywood mystery and one of the most purely enjoyable cinematic entertainments. Audrey Hepburn stars as Regina, a young housewife who suddenly gets thrown into the lurid world of espionage. Cary Grant plays a spy who’s set on obtaining her recently deceased husband’s money. But he’s not the only one searching. Soon the two are forced to work together to survive. Sounds serious, but in CHARADE nothing is what it seems. Grant plays the smooth-talking charismatic persona that he perfected with so many performances throughout his career, most notably NOTORIOUS and NORTH BY NORTHWEST. His strong machismo is matched scene for scene by Hepburn, which makes the chemistry between the two almost criminal. Together they make one of the strongest, most confident screen couples of all-time. Stanley Donen’s (SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN) expert direction makes all the many different tones work and a memorably playful color design adds to the film’s overall versatility. It may be a half-century old, but CHARADE is still as fresh, funny and clever as any movie you’ve ever seen.
January 6 & 10
National Theatre Live: Young Marx(2018)
Rory Kinnear (The Threepenny Opera, Penny Dreadful, Othello) is Marx and Oliver Chris (Twelfth Night, Green Wing) is Engels, in this new comedy written by Richard Bean and Clive Coleman. Broadcast live from The Bridge Theatre, London, the production is directed by Nicholas Hytner and reunites the creative team behind Broadway and West End hit comedy One Man, Two Guvnors. 1850, and Europe’s most feared terrorist is hiding in Dean Street, Soho. Broke, restless and horny, the thirty-two-year-old revolutionary is a frothing combination of intellectual brilliance, invective, satiric wit, and child-like emotional illiteracy. Creditors, spies, rival revolutionary factions and prospective seducers of his beautiful wife all circle like vultures. His writing blocked, his marriage dying, his friend Engels in despair at his wasted genius, his only hope is a job on the railway. But there’s still no one in the capital who can show you a better night on the piss than Karl Heinrich Marx.
January 19 & 20 & 21
Birdboy: The Forgotten Children (Psiconautas)(2018)
There is light and beauty, even in the darkest of worlds. Stranded on an island in a post-apocalyptic world, teenager Dinky and her friends hatch a dangerous plan to escape in the hope of finding a better life. Meanwhile, her old friend Birdboy has shut himself off from the world, pursued by the police and haunted by demon tormentors. But unbeknownst to anyone, he contains a secret inside him that could change the world forever. Based on his own graphic novel, Alberto Vázquez’s BIRDBOY: THE FORGOTTEN CHILDREN is a darkly comic, mind-bending fantasy. Gorgeous graphic imagery brings to life a surreal and discordant world populated by adorable (and adorably disturbed) animated critters, searching for hope and love amid the ruin.
This ground breaking film reveals the truth surrounding Australia's love-hate relationship with its beloved icon. The kangaroo 'image' is proudly used by top companies, sports teams and tourist souvenirs, yet as they hop across the vast continent many consider them pests to be shot and sold for profit. "Kangaroo" unpacks a national paradigm where the relationship with kangaroos is examined.
January 28 & 31
Exhibition On Screen: David Hockney at the Royal A(2018)
Widely considered Britain’s most popular artist, David Hockney is a global sensation with exhibitions in London, New York, Paris and beyond, attracting millions of visitors worldwide. Now entering his 9th decade, Hockney shows absolutely no evidence of slowing down or losing his trademark boldness. Featuring intimate and in-depth interviews with Hockney, this revealing film focuses on two blockbuster exhibitions held in 2012 and 2016 at the Royal Academy of Art in London. Director Phil Grabsky secured privileged access to craft this cinematic celebration of a 21st century master of creativity.
February 2 & 3
An Affair to Remember(2018)
A huge hit in its day, AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER enjoyed a second life in 1993 when it became the film almost everyone was obsessed with in Nora Ephron's SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE. But even in 1957, AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER was already a time-tested tale: Direcor Leo McCarey had filmed the story 16 years earlier with Irene Dunne and Chares Boyer as LOVE AFFAIR (and Warren Beatty and Annette Bening would remake it yet again as LOVE AFFAIR in 1994). AFFAIR marked the second of three times Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr co-starred. Grant plays Nickie Ferrante, a love-'em-and-leave-'em type who meets nightclub chanteuse Terry McKay (Kerr) on an ocean liner bound for Europe. Cue a romance on the high seas. On the voyage home, the couple makes plans to meet at the top of the Empire State Building in six months -- and what could possibly go wrong?
Bolshoi Ballet: Romeo and Juliet(2018)
In Verona, Romeo and Juliet fall madly in love while their respective families, the Montagues and the Capulets, are caught in a bitter rivalry ending in heart-wrenching tragedy. Alexei Ratmansky, former artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet, stages the company’s premiere of his production with dramatic urgency and a fresh retelling of Shakespeare’s beloved classic. His brilliant and detailed adaptation set to Prokofiev’s romantic and cinematic score reignites the story of literature’s most celebrated star-crossed lovers like no other classical ballet choreographer today.
The Royal Opera House: Rigoletto(2018)
Alexander Joel conducts two excellent casts led by Dimitri Platanias in David McVicar’s acclaimed production of Verdi’s potent and tragic opera. Rigoletto, court jester to the libertine Duke of Mantua, is cursed by the father of one of the Duke’s victims for his irreverent laughter. When the Duke seduces Rigoletto’s daughter Gilda, it seems the curse is taking effect… Giuseppe Verdi wrote in 1855 that Rigoletto, based on Victor Hugo’s play Le Roi s’amuse, was his ‘best opera’. He had had to overcome state censorship to stage it – the censors objected to its depiction of an immoral ruler – but he was vindicated by the premiere’s huge success in 1851. Rigoletto was performed 250 times in the next 10 years and has remained one of the most popular of all operas. David McVicar’s production highlights the cruelty at the heart of the court of Mantua. Richly dressed courtiers engage in orgies and revelries to Verdi’s heady, spirited dances. The opera’s many musical highlights include the ebullient ‘La donna è mobile’, in which the Duke boasts of his disregard for women; Gilda’s exquisite, plangent duets with Rigoletto and the Duke; and the gorgeous Act III quartet that beautifully weaves the voices together as the story quickens to its shattering conclusion.
Practically every actress gets a Cinderella story at one point or another, but Audrey Hepburn had a lot of them: SABRINA, MY FAIR LADY, ROMAN HOLIDAY (in which the princess becomes a fun-loving commoner for a few days) and, of course, FUNNY FACE, in which she plays a Greenwich Village hipster who's transformed from fashionably jaded to a high-fashion model. The movie combined Hepburn and Fred Astaire with some of George and Ira Gershwin's greatest hits ("How Long Has This Been Going On?," "He Loves and She Loves," "'S Wonderful," etc.), tossing in for good measure a few new tunes from composer Roger Edens. FUNNY FACE puts Hepburn's Jo, a bookstore clerk, on a collision course with high-class shutterbug Dick Avery (Astaire, in a role inspired by real-life photography legend Richard Avedon). Jo wants to hang out with the Beat Generation and drown herself in espresso in underground clubs; Dick has other plans. While Jo reluctantly agrees to be made-over for a fashion show in Paris, once she gets to the City of Light the bookworm has turned. Years later, Audrey's son Sean Ferrer said FUNNY FACE was one of his mom's favorites. "I think it was the first time she had to stretch her acting abilities beyond a romantic comedy," he said. She also perhaps saw much of herself in the character of Jo. "She was a very insecure person whose shy insecurity made everyone fall in love with her," Ferrer noted. "She was a star who couldn't see her own light."
February 24 & 28
National Theatre Live: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof(2018)
Tennessee Williams' twentieth century masterpiece Cat on a Hot Tin Roof played a strictly limited season in London's West End in 2017. Following his smash hit production of A Streetcar Named Desire, Benedict Andrews' 'thrilling revival' (New York Times) stars Sienna Miller alongside, Jack O'Connell and Colm Meaney. On a steamy night in Mississippi, a Southern family gather at their cotton plantation to celebrate Big Daddy's birthday. The scorching heat is almost as oppressive as the lies they tell. Brick and Maggie dance round the secrets and sexual tensions that threaten to destroy their marriage. With the future of the family at stake, which version of the truth is real - and which will win out?
Bolshoi Ballet: The Lady of the Camellias(2018)
At a theatre performance of ‘Manon Lescaut,’ the young and naive Armand is utterly captivated after meeting the ravishing and most desirable courtesan Marguerite Gautier. Their encounter gives birth to a passionate yet doomed love. Alexandre Dumas fils’s novel comes to life on the Bolshoi stage, with prima Svetlana Zakharova as the ailing Marguerite seeking love and redemption from her life as a courtesan. The Bolshoi brings choreographer John Neumeier’s work of rare beauty and tragic depth to new emotional heights, accompanied by Chopin’s romantic piano score
March 10 & 14
National Theatre Live: Hamlet ENCORE(2018)
Academy Award® nominee Benedict Cumberbatch (BBC’s Sherlock, The Imitation Game) takes on the title role of Shakespeare’s great tragedy. Directed by Lyndsey Turner (Posh, Chimerica) and produced by Sonia Friedman Productions, the original 2015 broadcast was experienced by over half a million people worldwide. As a country arms itself for war, a family tears itself apart. Forced to avenge his father’s death but paralysed by the task ahead, Hamlet rages against the impossibility of his predicament, threatening both his sanity and the security of the state.
The Royal Opera House: Tosca(2018)
Drama, passion and fabulous music – Puccini’s operatic thriller is one of the great opera experiences. Dan Ettinger conducts a star cast led by Adrianne Pieczonka, Joseph Calleja and Gerald Finley. The painter Mario Cavaradossi helps a fugitive escape – and so attracts the attention of Scarpia, the sadistic Chief of Police. Scarpia captures Cavaradossi and has him tortured within earshot of his lover, the singer Tosca. From its strident opening chords, Tosca conjures up a world of political instability and menace. The Chief of Police, Scarpia – one of the most malevolent villains in opera – ruthlessly pursues and tortures enemies of the state. His dark, demonic music contrasts with the expansive melodies of the idealistic lovers, Tosca and Cavaradossi, who express their passion in sublime arias, including ‘Vissi d’arte’ and ‘E lucevan le stelle’. Giacomo Puccini’s dramatic work was a hit with audiences on its 1900 premiere and it remains one of the most performed of all operas – and with its gripping plot and glorious music, it’s easy to see why. A candle-lit church, Scarpia’s gloomy study with its hidden torture chamber and the false optimism of a Roman dawn: Jonathan Kent’s handsome production throws into relief the ruthlessly taut drama, as the tension is wound up towards its fateful conclusion. Puccini’s meticulously researched score is infused with the same authentic detail, from distant cannon fire during the Act I Te Deum to tolling church bells and the sounds of a firing squad.
Bolshoi Ballet: The Flames of Paris (Les Flammes d(2018)
In the era of the French Revolution, Jeanne and her brother Jérôme leave Marseille for Paris in support the revolutionary effort that is taking over the capital. While fighting for freedom, they both encounter love along the way. Very few ballets can properly depict the Bolshoi’s overflowing energy and fiery passion as can Alexei Ratmansky’s captivating revival of Vasily Vainonen’s “The Flames of Paris.” With powerful virtuosity and some of the most stunning pas de deux, the Bolshoi Ballet displays an exuberance almost too enormous for the Moscow stage
The Royal Ballet: The Winter's Tale(2018)
Shakespeare’s tale of love and loss becomes compelling dance drama in Christopher Wheeldon’s ballet adaptation, with music by Joby Talbot. King Leontes, possessed by a mad jealousy, believes his pregnant wife Hermione to be having an affair with his childhood friend King Polixenes. His actions tear their families apart. Christopher Wheeldon, Artistic Associate of The Royal Ballet, created his adaptation of Shakespeare’s late great romance The Winter’s Tale for The Royal Ballet in 2014. Building on the success of Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Winter’s Tale received ecstatic praise at its premiere, acclaimed by critics and audiences alike for its intelligent, distinctive and emotionally powerful story, told through exquisite dance. It is now widely judged to be a modern ballet classic. The story follows the destruction of a marriage through consuming jealousy, the abandonment of a child and a seemingly hopeless love. Yet, through remorse and regret – and after a seemingly miraculous return to life – the ending is one of forgiveness and reconciliation. With powerful designs by Bob Crowley and atmospheric music by Joby Talbot, The Winter’s Tale is a masterful modern narrative ballet.
April 7 & 11
National Theatre Live : Julius Caesar(2018)
Ben Whishaw (The Danish Girl, Skyfall, Hamlet) and Michelle Fairley (Fortitude, Game of Thrones) play Brutus and Cassius, David Calder (The Lost City of Z, The Hatton Garden Job) plays Caesar and David Morrissey (The Missing, Hangmen, The Walking Dead) is Mark Antony. Broadcast live from The Bridge Theatre, London. Caesar returns in triumph to Rome and the people pour out of their homes to celebrate. Alarmed by the autocrat’s popularity, the educated élite conspire to bring him down. After his assassination, civil war erupts on the streets of the capital. Nicholas Hytner’s production will thrust the audience into the street party that greets Caesar’s return, the congress that witnesses his murder, the rally that assembles for his funeral and the chaos that explodes in its wake.
Bolshoi Ballet: Giselle(2018)
When Giselle learns that her beloved Albrecht is promised to another woman, she dies of a broken heart in his arms. While Albrecht grieves, she returns from the dead as a Wili, a vengeful spirit meant to make unfaithful men dance until death. Prima ballerina Svetlana Zakharova personifies this ultimate ballerina role in the classical repertoire, alongside the sensational Sergei Polunin as Albrecht, in this chilling, yet luminous ballet that continues to captivate audiences for more than 150 years at the Bolshoi.
April 15 & 18
Exhibition on Screen: Cézanne Portraits of a Life(2018)
EOS is thrilled to present one of the most talked about exhibitions of the year. Dedicated to the portrait work of Paul Cézanne, the exhibition opens in Paris before traveling to London and Washington. One can’t appreciate 20th century art without understanding the significance and genius of Paul Cézanne. Featuring interviews with curators and experts from the National Portrait Gallery London, MoMA New York, National Gallery of Art Washington, and Musée d’Orsay Paris, and correspondence from the artist himself, the film takes audiences beyond the exhibition to the places Cézanne lived and worked and sheds light on an artist who is perhaps the least known of all the impressionists – until now. Filmed in Paris, London, Washington and the south of France.
Royal Opera House: Carmen(2018)
Bizet’s classic French opera stars Anna Goryachova in Barrie Kosky’s intense production. The young soldier Don José intends to marry Micaëla, a girl from his home village. But when he meets the sensual and fiercely independent Carmen, he sacrifices everything to be with her. Carmen is the best-known work by French composer Georges Bizet, and one of the most famous operas in the entire art form – numbers such as the Habanera and the Toreador Song have permeated the popular consciousness as little else has. The opera’s heady combination of passion, sensuality and violence initially proved too much for the stage, and it was a critical failure on its 1875 premiere. Bizet died shortly after, and never learned of the spectacular success his Carmen would achieve: the opera has been performed more than five hundred times at Covent Garden alone.
June 2 & 6
National Theatre Live: Macbeth(2018)
Shakespeare’s most intense and terrifying tragedy, directed by Rufus Norris (The Threepenny Opera, London Road), will see Rory Kinnear (Young Marx, Othello) and Anne-Marie Duff (Oil, Suffragette) return to the National Theatre to play Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. The ruined aftermath of a bloody civil war. Ruthlessly fighting to survive, the Macbeths are propelled towards the crown by forces of elemental darkness. Shakespeare’s most intense and terrifying tragedy, directed by Rufus Norris (The Threepenny Opera, London Road), will see Rory Kinnear (Young Marx, Othello) and Anne-Marie Duff (Oil, Suffragette) return to the National Theatre to play Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.
The Royal Opera House: Macbeth(2018)
Antonio Pappano conducts Verdi’s opera based on Shakespeare’s tragedy, with a magnificent cast including Anna Netrebko and Anna Pirozzi, Željko Lučić and Ildebrando D’Arcangelo. The warrior Macbeth fights on the side of the King of Scotland – but when a coven of witches prophesy that he shall become king himself, a ruthless ambition drives Macbeth and his wife to horrific acts. Verdi’s life-long love affair with Shakespeare’s works began with Macbeth, a play he considered to be ‘one of the greatest creations of man’. With his librettist Francesco Maria Piave Verdi set out to create ‘something out of the ordinary’. Their success is borne out in every bar of a score that sees Verdi at his most theatrical: it bristles with demonic energy. Phyllida Lloyd’s 2002 production for The Royal Opera is richly hued, shot through with black, red and gold. The witches – imagined by designer Anthony Ward as strange, scarlet-turbaned creatures – are ever-present agents of fate. Lloyd depicts the Macbeths’ childlessness as the dark sadness lurking behind their terrible deeds. The Royal Opera’s production uses Verdi’s 1865 Paris revision of the opera, which includes Lady Macbeth’s riveting aria ‘La luce langue’.
Bolshoi Ballet: Coppélia(2018)
Swanhilda notices her fiancé Franz is infatuated with the beautiful Coppélia who sits reading on her balcony each day. Nearly breaking up the two sweethearts, Coppélia is not what she seems, and Swanhilda decides to teach Franz a lesson. The Bolshoi’s unique version of Coppélia exhibits a fascinating reconstruction of the original 19th century choreography of this ebullient comedy involving a feisty heroine, a boyish fiancé with a wandering eye, and an old dollmaker. The company’s stunning corps de ballet shines in the divertissements and famous “dance of the hours,” and its principals abound in youthful energy and irresistible humor in this effervescent production.
The Royal Ballet: Manon(2018)
Kenneth MacMillan’s masterpiece of modern ballet is revived this Season as part of continuing celebrations of MacMillan’s profound impact on British ballet, to mark the 25th anniversary of his death. Manon’s brother Lescaut is offering her to the highest bidder when she meets Des Grieux and falls in love. They elope to Paris, but when Monsieur G.M. offers Manon a life of luxury as his mistress she can’t resist. Kenneth MacMillan’s source for Manon was the 18th-century French novel by Abbé Prévost, already adapted for opera by Massenet and Puccini. Renowned dance musician Leighton Lucas and his assistant Hilda Gaunt provided a score drawn from across Massenet’s music, including his famous yearning Elégie as the theme for the lovers. The premiere was given on 7 March 1974, with the lead roles of Manon and Des Grieux danced by Antoinette Sibley and Anthony Dowell. The ballet quickly became a staple of The Royal Ballet’s repertory, and a touchstone of adult, dramatic dance. MacMillan found new sympathy with the capricious Manon and her struggle to escape poverty. Designs by his regular collaborator Nicholas Georgiadis reflect this, depicting a world of lavish splendour polluted by miserable destitution. MacMillan’s spectacular ensemble scenes for the whole Company create vivid, complex portraits of the distinct societies of Paris and New Orleans. But it is Manon and Des Grieux’s impassioned pas de deux – recalling the intensity of MacMillan’s earlier Romeo and Juliet – that drive this tragic story, and make Manon one of MacMillan’s most powerful dramas.