Academy Award nominee Benedict Cumberbatch (BBC's Sherlock, The Imitation Game) takes on the title role of Shakespeare's great tragedy. Now seen by over 750,000 people worldwide, the original 2015 NT Live broadcast returns to cinemas. <p><br> 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. Directed by Lyndsey Turner (Posh, Chimerica) and produced by Sonia Friedman Productions. <p><br>
Stephen Sondheim's legendary musical is staged for the first time at the National Theatre and broadcast live to cinemas. <p><br> New York, 1971. There's a party on the stage of the Weismann Theatre. Tomorrow the iconic building will be demolished. Thirty years after their final performance, the Follies girls gather to have a few drinks, sing a few songs and lie about themselves. <p><br> Tracie Bennett, Janie Dee and Imelda Staunton play the magnificent Follies in this dazzling new production. Featuring a cast of 37 and an orchestra of 21, it's directed by Dominic Cooke (The Comedy of Errors). <p><br> Winner of Academy, Tony, Grammy and Olivier awards, Sondheim's previous work includes A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd and Sunday in the Park with George. <p><br>
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. <p><br> 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. <p><br> 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. <p><br>
The incredible Billie Piper (Penny Dreadful, Great Britain) returns in her Evening Standard Best Actress award-winning role. A young woman is driven to the unthinkable by her desperate desire to have a child in Simon Stone's radical production of Lorca's achingly powerful masterpiece. <p><br> The unmissable theatre phenomenon sold out at the Young Vic and critics call it 'an extraordinary theatrical triumph' (The Times) and 'stunning, searing, unmissable' (Mail on Sunday). Billie Piper's lead performance is described as 'spellbinding' (The Evening Standard), 'astonishing' (iNews) and 'devastatingly powerful' (The Daily Telegraph). <p><br> Set in contemporary London, Piper's portrayal of a woman in her thirties desperate to conceive builds with elemental force to a staggering, shocking, climax. <p><br> Please note that this broadcast does not have an interval. <p><br> "Brutal yet ferociously funny", Metro <p><br> "Billie Piper makes a shattering Yerma in Simon Stone's inspired reworking of Lorca", The Observer <p><br> "A shatteringly powerful reinvention of a familiar classic", The Independent <p><br>
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. <p><br> 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. <p><br> 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. <p><br>
Follow Alice down the rabbit hole in Christopher Wheeldon's exuberant ballet, inspired by Lewis Carroll's much-loved book. At a garden party on a sunny afternoon, Alice is surprised to see her parents' friend Lewis Carroll transform into a white rabbit. When she follows him down a rabbit hole events become curiouser and curiouser... <p><br> As Alice journeys through Wonderland, she encounters countless strange creatures. She's swept off her feet by the charming Knave of Hearts, who's on the run for stealing the tarts. Confusion piles upon confusion. Then Alice wakes with a start. Was it all a daydream? <p><br> Christopher Wheeldon's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland burst onto the stage in 2011 in an explosion of colour, stage magic and inventive, sophisticated choreography. Joby Talbot's score combines contemporary soundworlds with sweeping melodies that gesture to ballet scores of the 19th century. Bob Crowley's wildly imaginative, eye-popping designs draw on everything from puppetry to projections to make Wonderland wonderfully real. <p><br> Alice encounters a cast of extraordinary and instantly recognizable characters, from the highly strung Queen of Hearts – who performs a hilarious send-up of The Sleeping Beauty's famous Rose Adage – to a playing- card corps de ballet, a sinuous caterpillar and a tap-dancing Mad Hatter. But the ballet does not avoid the darker undercurrents of Lewis Carroll's story: a nightmarish kitchen, an eerily disembodied Cheshire Cat and the unhinged tea party are all here in vivid detail. <p><br> The delicious result shows The Royal Ballet at its best, bringing together world-class dance with enchanting family entertainment. <p><br> APPROXIMATE RUNNING TIME: 2 HOURS 50 MINUTES, INCLUDING TWO INTERVALS
Kenneth Macmillan's powerful telling of Manon and des Grieux's tragic love is a masterpiece of modern ballet, set to music by Massenet. <p><br> 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. With the Lescauts' encouragement Des Grieux cheats at cards in an attempt to win Monsieur G.M.'s fortune. They are caught. Manon is arrested as a prostitute and deported to New Orleans, followed by Des Grieux. On the run, Manon dies from exhaustion. <p><br> Kenneth MacMillan's source for Manon was the 18th-century French novel already adapted for opera by Massenet and Puccini. The premiere was given on 7 March 1974, with the lead roles 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. <p><br> 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. <p><br> 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. <p><br> APPROXIMATE RUNNING TIME: 2 HOURS 35 MINUTES, INCLUDING TWO INTERVALS
The Royal Ballet presents a new production of Tchaikovsky's magnificent classical ballet, with additional choreography by Liam Scarlett and designs by John Macfarlane. <p><br> Swan Lake has had a special role in the repertory of The Royal Ballet since 1934. While remaining faithful to the Petipa-Ivanov text, Scarlett will bring fresh eyes to the staging of this classic ballet, in collaboration with his long-term designer John Macfarlane. <p><br> Prince Siegfried chances upon a flock of swans while out hunting. When one of the swans turns into a beautiful woman, Odette, he is enraptured. But she is under a spell that holds her captive, allowing her to regain her human form only at night. <p><br> Swan Lake was Tchaikovsky's first ballet score. Given its status today as arguably the best loved and most admired of all classical ballets, it is perhaps surprising that at its premiere in 1877 Swan Lake was poorly received. It is thanks to the 1895 production by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov that Swan Lake has become part of not only ballet consciousness but also wider popular culture. <p><br> That success is secured not only by the sublime, symphonic sweep of Tchaikovsky's score, but also by the striking choreographic contrasts between Petipa's royal palace scenes and the lyric lakeside scenes created by Ivanov. <p><br> APPROXIMATE RUNNING TIME: 3 HOURS, INCLUDING TWO INTERVALS
The Royal Ballet celebrates the centenary of Leonard Bernstein's birth with an all-Bernstein programme from choreographers Wayne McGregor, Liam Scarlett and Christopher Wheeldon. <p><br> Leonard Bernstein was one of the first classical composers in America to achieve both popular and critical acclaim. He was eclectic in his sources – drawing on jazz and modernism, the traditions of Jewish music and the Broadway musical – and many of Bernstein's scores are remarkably well suited to dance. He was particularly associated with Jerome Robbins, their credits together including Fancy Free and West Side Story. <p><br> To celebrate the centenary year of the composer's birth, The Royal Ballet has united all three of its associate choreographers to celebrate the dynamic range and danceability of Bernstein's music. The programme includes two world premieres by Resident Choreographer Wayne McGregor and Artistic Associate Christopher Wheeldon, marking each artist's first foray into Bernstein. <p><br> At the heart of the programme is the first revival of Artist in Residence Liam Scarlett's The Age of Anxiety, created in 2014 to Bernstein's soul-searching Second Symphony. Both symphony and ballet are inspired by W.H. Auden's masterful modernist poem, itself written in response to the atmosphere of disillusionment and uncertainty that followed the end of World War II. <p><br> APPROXIMATE RUNNING TIME: 3 HOURS, INCLUDING TWO INTERVALS
A young girl's enchanted present leads her on a wonderful Christmas adventure in this beautiful classical ballet, danced to Tchaikovsky's magnificent score. <p><br> The young Clara creeps downstairs on Christmas Eve to play with her favourite present – a Nutcracker doll. But the mysterious magician Drosselmeyer is waiting to sweep her off on a magical adventure. <p><br> After defeating the Mouse King, the Nutcracker and Clara travel through the Land of Snow to the Kingdom of Sweets, where the Sugar Plum Fairy treats them to a wonderful display of dances. Back home, Clara thinks she must have been dreaming – but doesn't she recognize Drosselmeyer's nephew? <p><br> Peter Wright's nigh-on definitive production for The Royal Balletranks as one of the most enduring and enchanting versions of The Nutcracker. With its festive period setting, dancing snowflakes and enchanting stage magic, Lev Ivanov's 1892 ballet has become the perfect Christmas entertainment, with Tchaikovsky's sumptuous, sugar-spun music the most recognizable of all ballet scores. <p><br> Loosely based on the story by E.T.A. Hoffmann, the ballet opens with a lively Christmas party, its Victorian setting captured in opulent detail by Julia Trevelyan Oman's designs. Wright's choreography ingeniously incorporates surviving fragments of the ballet's original material, including the sublime pas de deux for the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Prince. But in emphasizing the relationship between Clara and the Nutcracker Prince, the production also gains a touching subtext of first love. <p><br> APPROXIMATE RUNNING TIME:2 HOURS 15 MINUTES, INCLUDING ONE INTERVAL
Shakespeare's tale of love and loss becomes compelling dance drama in Christopher Wheeldon's ballet adaptation, with music by Jody Talbot. <p><br> 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. <p><br> Building on the success of 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. <p><br> 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. <p><br> With powerful designs by Bob Crowley and atmospheric music by Joby Talbot, The Winter's Tale is a masterful modern narrative ballet. <p><br> APPROXIMATE RUNNING TIME: 3 HOURS, INCLUDING TWO INTERVALS <p><br> This screening is a recording of the live presentation on 28 February and is being shown as live.
Puccini's passionate opera is conducted by Antonio Pappano and stars a superb young cast including Nicole Car, Michael Fabiano and Mariusz Kwiecien, in a new production by Richard Jones. <p><br> When Rodolfo, a penniless poet, meets Mimi`, a seamstress, they fall instantly in love. But their happiness is threatened when Rodolfo learns that Mimi` is gravely ill. <p><br> Acclaimed director Richard Jones (Boris Godunov, Il trittico) directs a new production of Puccini's La boheme. <p><br> Irresistible in its witty, passionate blend of comedy and tragedy, the opera focusses on the lives of a group?of young artists as they eke out an existence on the bohemian fringes of Paris, the capital of the 19th century. <p><br> Jones brings his characteristically acute insight to this much- loved classic, visualized in Stewart Laing's spectacular, stylized 1850s setting. <p><br> Puccini's romantic depiction of bohemian Paris, with memorable music and a love story drawn from everyday life, has captivated audiences around the world, making La bohe`me one of the best-loved of all operas. It was first performed in Covent Garden in 1897 and has had more than five hundred performances there since. <p><br> APPROXIMATE RUNNING TIME: 2 HOURS 35 MINUTES, INCLUDING ONE INTERVAL | SUNG IN ITALIAN WITH ENGLISH SURTITLES <p><br> This screening is a recording of the live presentation on 3 October and is being shown as live.
Bizet's classic French opera stars Anna Goryachova in Barrie Kosky's intense production. <p><br> 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. <p><br> 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. <p><br> This ever-popular opera is given a fresh point of view in Barrie Kosky's highly physical production, originally created for Frankfurt Opera. The Australian director is one of the world's most sought-after opera directors, whose Royal Opera debut with Shostakovich's The Nose in 2016 was greeted with delight. For Carmen he has devised a far- from-traditional version, incorporating music written by Bizet for the score but not usually heard, and giving a new voice to the opera's endlessly fascinating central character. <p><br> APPROXIMATE RUNNING TIME: 3 HOURS 20 MINUTES, INCLUDING ONE INTERVAL | SUNG IN FRENCH WITH ENGLISH SURTITLES
Verdi's opera on Shakespeare's tragedy is conducted by Antonio Pappano, with a magnificent cast including Anna Netrebko, Zeljko Lucic and Ildebrando d'Arcangelo. <p><br> 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. <p><br> 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. Murder makes Macbeth king, and intrigue and butchery are the hallmarks of his brief, doomed reign. The witches make another prediction, which also comes true: Macbeth and his lady lose their lives, and justice is restored. <p><br> 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. <p><br> The Royal Opera's production uses Verdi's 1865 Paris revision of the opera, which includes Lady Macbeth's riveting aria 'La luce langue'. <p><br> APPROXIMATE RUNNING TIME: 3 HOURS 20 MINUTES, INCLUDING ONE INTERVAL | SUNG IN ITALIAN WITH ENGLISH SURTITLES
David McVicar's acclaimed production of Verdi's potent and tragic opera is conducted by Alexander Joel, with an excellent cast led by Dimitri Platanias, Lucy Crowe and Michael Fabiano. <p><br> The corruption of innocence is at the heart of Verdi's potent tragedy in David McVicar's production for The Royal 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... <p><br> 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 e` 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. <p><br> Giuseppe Verdi wrote in 1855 that Rigoletto 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. <p><br> APPROXIMATE RUNNING TIME: 2 HOURS 45 MINUTES, INCLUDING ONE INTERVAL | SUNG IN ITALIAN WITH ENGLISH SURTITLES <p><br> This screening is a recording of the live presentation on 16 January and is being shown as live.
Julia Jones conducts the Royal Opera's spell-binding production of Mozart's The Magic Flute with a wonderful cast including Roderick Williams as Papageno. <p><br> Mozart's glorious opera is brought enchantingly to life in David McVicar's production with beautiful sets by John Macfarlane. <p><br> Prince Tamino promises the Queen of the Night that he will rescue her daughter Pamina from the enchanter Sarastro. He begins his quest, accompanied by the bird-catcher Papageno – but all is not as it seems... <p><br> David McVicar's classic production embraces both the seriousness and comedy of Mozart's work. The audience is transported to a fantastical world of dancing animals, flying machines and dazzlingly starry skies. The setting provides a wonderful backdrop for Mozart's kaleidoscopic score, from the Queen of the Night's coloratura fireworks to Tamino and Pamina's lyrical love duets and Papageno's hearty, folksong-like arias. <p><br> As well as being a comedy The Magic Flute is an expression of Mozart's profound spiritual beliefs: Enlightenment concerns with the search for wisdom and virtue are at the heart of this enchanting tale. <p><br> The Magic Flute was an instant success with audiences and Mozart's supposed rival Salieri described it as an 'operone' – a great opera. <p><br> APPROXIMATE RUNNING TIME: 3 HOURS 10 MINUTES, INCLUDING ONE INTERVAL | SUNG IN GERMAN WITH ENGLISH SURTITLES <p><br> This screening is a recording of the live presentation on 20 September and is being shown as live.<p><br>
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. <p><br> Tosca is one of the great evenings of opera, and from its strident opening chords conjures up a world of political instability and menace. Jonathan Kent's production for The Royal Opera captures the dangerous political turbulence of Rome in 1800. The Chief of Police, Scarpia – one of the most malevolent villains in opera – ruthlessly pursues and tortures enemies of the state. <p><br> 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'. <p><br> 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 – with its gripping plot and glorious music, it's easy to see why. <p><br> A candle-lit church, Scarpia's gloomy study with its hidden torture chamber and the false optimism of a Roman dawn: this handsome production throws into relief the ruthlessly taut drama, as the tension is wound up towards a fateful conclusion. <p><br> 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. <p><br> APPROXIMATE RUNNING TIME: 3 HOURS, INCLUDING TWO INTERVALS | SUNG IN ITALIAN WITH ENGLISH SURTITLES