BP and the Royal Opera House (ROH) have worked together for 28 years, making this the ROH's longest corporate partnership
During that time, over half a million people across the country have enjoyed free BP Big Screens relays of live performances showing world-class opera and ballet direct from one of the world's great opera houses. Others have joined in learning and participation projects from Aberdeen to London and beyond. We recently announced a further renewal of our partnership with the Royal Opera House until 2022 – ensuring that many more people will have access to the best of the UK's culture well in to the future.
BP Big Screens
For the last 16 years, BP has supported the free Big Screens live relays of opera and ballet performances direct from Covent Garden to an increasing number of sites across the country. In 2016 around 23,000 people watched BP Big Screens in 14 locations across the UK experiencing the very best of opera and ballet, complete with dramatic plots, passion, intrigue, love, jealousy and revenge.
A further 66,000 people from 67 countries worldwide watched BP Big Screens performances of Nabucco and Il trovatore via the Royal Opera House's YouTube channel logging on from Argentina to Vietnam, Finland to New Zealand. This followed the first of the Royal Opera House's and BP Big Screens live online streaming of La traviata in 2014 which was seen by 15,000 people.
BP Big Screens in 2017
Two operas and one ballet made up the BP Big Screens for 2017. Each screening brought exclusive backstage films, competitions and the best performances live to towns across the UK. They were the perfect occasion to share an excellent evening with friends and family - all for free!
Ashton Triple bill: The Dream/Symphonic Variations/Marguerite and Armand
Frederick Ashton (1904-1988) was Founder Choreographer of The Royal Ballet, creating more than 100 works during his lifetime. His works define the English style of ballet: precise, fleet footwork, sensuous épaulement (the way the shoulders are held) and gorgeous lines of delicate simplicity. His many works for the Company are arguably its greatest legacy.
The Royal Ballet celebrates this heritage through a mixed programme of three of Ashton's most loved and most characteristic works. The Dream (1964) is an enchanting adaptation of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, to music by Mendelssohn.
Symphonic Variations (1946) is Ashton's first masterpiece and a breathtaking, abstract work on the beauty of pure movement. Marguerite and Armand (1963), inspired by the celebrated dance partnership between Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev, is a tragic love story of great lyric beauty.
The role of Violetta – the 'fallen woman' of the title – is one of Verdi's most complex and enduring characters, as well as one of his most beloved. 'A toast to the pleasures of life!' sings Violetta, her new admirer Alfredo and her party guests in the opening scene. But beneath the surface glamour of Violetta's life in Paris run darker undercurrents: her doomed love for Alfredo and the tensions the lovers encounter when they break society's conventions. La traviata was inspired by Alexandre Dumas fils's play La Dame aux camélias which itself was based on the true story of the courtesan Marie Duplessis. It remains one of the most popular operas, combining drama, profound emotion and wonderful melody.
Princess Turandot has sworn that no man shall marry her unless he can correctly answer three riddles. Prince Calaf, captivated by Turandot's beauty, takes up the challenge.
In the final months of his life Puccini struggled to depict Calaf's triumph and he died before finishing the final act. Turandot was completed two years later by Franco Alfano and given its premiere in 1926 at La Scala, Milan. During the initial performance the conductor Arturo Toscanini famously laid down his baton in Act III, declaring, 'at this point, the Maestro died.'
Puccini creates a rich sound world for this dark fairy-tale. The opera contains many memorable arias including, perhaps the most famous of all arias, Nessun Dorma, sung as Calaf anticipates winning the Princess's hand and immortalised in popular culture by Luciano Pavarotti.