Royal Opera House (Covent Garden) 21 May 2024 - The Winter's Tale | GoComGo.com

The Winter's Tale

Royal Opera House (Covent Garden), London, Great Britain
All photos (10)
Tuesday 21 May 2024
7:30 PM

E-tickets: Print at home or at the box office of the event if so specified. You will find more information in your booking confirmation email.

You can only select the category, and not the exact seats.
If you order 2 or 3 tickets: your seats will be next to each other.
If you order 4 or more tickets: your seats will be next to each other, or, if this is not possible, we will provide a combination of groups of seats (at least in pairs, for example 2+2 or 2+3).

Important Info
Type: Ballet
City: London, Great Britain
Starts at: 19:30

E-tickets: Print at home or at the box office of the event if so specified. You will find more information in your booking confirmation email.

You can only select the category, and not the exact seats.
If you order 2 or 3 tickets: your seats will be next to each other.
If you order 4 or more tickets: your seats will be next to each other, or, if this is not possible, we will provide a combination of groups of seats (at least in pairs, for example 2+2 or 2+3).

Overview

Shakespeare’s profound story of love and loss, artfully adapted into a contemporary three-act narrative ballet by Artistic Associate Christopher Wheeldon, returns to the Main Stage.

King Leontes of Sicilia is crippled with an all-consuming jealousy when his friend, King Polixenes of Bohemia, stays with him and his wife Hermione. What follows is a tale where a marriage is destroyed, a child is abandoned and all hope is seemingly lost for two lovers.

Celebrating its tenth anniversary, The Winter's Tale is an award-winning modern ballet classic, packed with emotional turmoil heightened by Joby Talbot’s compelling score and Bob Crowley’s atmospheric designs.

A CO-PRODUCTION BETWEEN - The Royal Ballet and the National Ballet of Canada

Wheeldon's ballet is a dance version of William Shakespeare's play The Winter's Tale (1609–11), considered by scholars one of his "problem plays," difficult to classify as tragedy, comedy, romance, or a combination of all three. The first three of its five acts are filled with intense psychological drama; the last two are lighthearted and comedic, concluding with a happy ending. It tells a complicated story of jealousy, loss, love, joy, redemption, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Shakespeare chose his title to signify to his audiences that the play was like a tale told in company gathered by a fireside on a winter's evening. A fictional invention—not true, but entertaining and morally instructive.

History
Premiere of this production: 10 April 2014, Royal Opera House, London

The Winter's Tale is a ballet in three acts choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon to a commissioned score by Joby Talbot. With scenery and costumes designed by Bob Crowley, lighting designed by Natasha Katz, and special stage effects designed by Daniel Brodie and Basil Twist, it was a co-production of the Royal Ballet and the National Ballet of Canada and was first presented at the Royal Opera House, London, on 10 April 2014.

Synopsis

Following a brief setup scene the play begins with the appearance of two childhood friends: Leontes, King of Sicilia, and Polixenes, the King of Bohemia. Polixenes is visiting the kingdom of Sicilia, and is enjoying catching up with his old friend. However, after nine months, Polixenes yearns to return to his own kingdom to tend to affairs and see his son. Leontes desperately attempts to get Polixenes to stay longer, but is unsuccessful. Leontes then decides to send his wife, Queen Hermione, to try to convince Polixenes. Hermione agrees and with three short speeches is successful. Leontes is puzzled as to how Hermione convinced Polixenes so easily, and so he begins to suspect that his pregnant wife has been having an affair with Polixenes and that the child is Polixenes'. Leontes orders Camillo, a Sicilian Lord, to poison Polixenes. Camillo instead warns Polixenes and they both flee to Bohemia.

Furious at their escape, Leontes now publicly accuses his wife of infidelity, and declares that the child she is bearing must be illegitimate. He throws her in prison, over the protests of his nobles, and sends two of his lords, Cleomenes and Dion, to the Oracle at Delphos for what he is sure will be confirmation of his suspicions. Meanwhile, the queen gives birth to a girl, and her loyal friend Paulina takes the baby to the king, in the hopes that the sight of the child will soften his heart. He grows angrier, however, and orders Paulina's husband, Lord Antigonus, to take the child and abandon it in a desolate place. Cleomenes and Dion return from Delphos with word from the Oracle and find Hermione publicly and humiliatingly put on trial before the king. She asserts her innocence, and asks for the word of the Oracle to be read before the court. The Oracle states categorically that Hermione and Polixenes are innocent, Camillo is an honest man, and that Leontes will have no heir until his lost daughter is found. Leontes shuns the news, refusing to believe it as the truth. As this news is revealed, word comes that Leontes' son, Mamillius, has died of a wasting sickness brought on by the accusations against his mother. At this, Hermione falls in a swoon, and is carried away by Paulina, who subsequently reports the queen's death to her heartbroken and repentant husband. Leontes vows to spend the rest of his days atoning for the loss of his son, his abandoned daughter, and his queen.

Antigonus, meanwhile, abandons the baby on the coast of Bohemia, reporting that Hermione appeared to him in a dream and bade him name the girl Perdita. He leaves a fardel (a bundle) by the baby containing gold and other trinkets which suggest that the baby is of noble blood. A violent storm suddenly appears, wrecking the ship on which Antigonus arrived. He wishes to take pity on the child, but is chased away in one of Shakespeare's most famous stage directions: "Exit, pursued by a bear." (It is not known whether Shakespeare used a real bear from the London bear-pits, or an actor in bear costume.) Perdita is rescued by a shepherd and his son, also known as "Clown."

"Time" enters and announces the passage of sixteen years. Camillo, now in the service of Polixenes, begs the Bohemian king to allow him to return to Sicilia. Polixenes refuses and reports to Camillo that his son, Prince Florizel, has fallen in love with a lowly shepherd girl: Perdita. He suggests to Camillo that, to take his mind off thoughts of home, they disguise themselves and attend the sheep-shearing feast where Florizel and Perdita will be betrothed. At the feast, hosted by the Old Shepherd who has prospered thanks to the gold in the fardel, the pedlar Autolycus picks the pocket of the Young Shepherd and, in various guises, entertains the guests with bawdy songs and the trinkets he sells. Disguised, Polixenes and Camillo watch as Florizel (under the guise of a shepherd named Doricles) and Perdita are betrothed. Then, tearing off the disguise, Polixenes angrily intervenes, threatening the Old Shepherd and Perdita with torture and death and ordering his son never to see the shepherd's daughter again. With the aid of Camillo, however, who longs to see his native land again, Florizel and Perdita take ship for Sicilia, using the clothes of Autolycus as a disguise. They are joined in their voyage by the Old Shepherd and his son who are directed there by Autolycus.

In Sicilia, Leontes is still in mourning. Cleomenes and Dion plead with him to end his time of repentance because the kingdom needs an heir. Paulina, however, convinces the king to remain unmarried forever since no woman can match the greatness of his lost Hermione. Florizel and Perdita arrive, and they are greeted effusively by Leontes. Florizel pretends to be on a diplomatic mission from his father, but his cover is blown when Polixenes and Camillo, too, arrive in Sicilia. The meeting and reconciliation of the kings and princes is reported by gentlemen of the Sicilian court: how the Old Shepherd raised Perdita, how Antigonus met his end, how Leontes was overjoyed at being reunited with his daughter, and how he begged Polixenes for forgiveness. The Old Shepherd and Young Shepherd, now made gentlemen by the kings, meet Autolycus, who asks them for their forgiveness for his roguery. Leontes, Polixenes, Camillo, Florizel and Perdita then go to Paulina's house in the country, where a statue of Hermione has been recently finished. The sight of his wife's form makes Leontes distraught, but then, to everyone's amazement, the statue shows signs of vitality; it is Hermione, restored to life. As the play ends, Perdita and Florizel are engaged, and the whole company celebrates the miracle. Despite this happy ending typical of Shakespeare's comedies and romances, the impression of the unjust death of young prince Mamillius lingers to the end, being an element of unredeemed tragedy, in addition to the years wasted in separation.

Venue Info

Royal Opera House (Covent Garden) - London
Location   Bow St, Covent Garden

The Royal Opera House (ROH) is an opera house and major performing arts venue in London and Great Britain. It is the home of The Royal Opera, The Royal Ballet, and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House.

The large building is often referred to as simply "Covent Garden", after a previous use of the site of the opera house's original construction in 1732. It is the home of The Royal Opera, The Royal Ballet, and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. Originally called the Theatre Royal, it served primarily as a playhouse for the first hundred years of its history. In 1734, the first ballet was presented. A year later, Handel's first season of operas began. Many of his operas and oratorios were specifically written for Covent Garden and had their premieres there.

The current building is the third theatre on the site following disastrous fires in 1808 and 1856. The façade, foyer, and auditorium date from 1858, but almost every other element of the present complex dates from an extensive reconstruction in the 1990s. The main auditorium seats 2,256 people, making it the third largest in London, and consists of four tiers of boxes and balconies and the amphitheatre gallery. The proscenium is 12.20 m wide and 14.80 m high. The main auditorium is a Grade I listed building.

The Royal Opera, under the direction of Antonio Pappano, is one of the world’s leading opera companies. Based in the iconic Covent Garden theatre, it is renowned both for its outstanding performances of traditional opera and for commissioning new works by today’s leading opera composers, such as Harrison Birtwistle, Mark-Anthony Turnage and Thomas Adès.

The Royal Ballet is one of the world’s greatest ballet companies. Under the directorship of Kevin O’Hare, the Company unites tradition and innovation in world-class performances at our Covent Garden home.

The Company’s extensive repertory embraces 19th-century classics, the singular legacy of works by Founder Choreographer Frederick Ashton and Principal Choreographer Kenneth MacMillan and a compelling new canon by Resident Choreographer Wayne McGregor and Artistic Associate Christopher Wheeldon.

The Orchestra performs in concerts of their own, including performances at the Royal Opera House with Antonio Pappano. They have also performed at venues worldwide including Symphony Hall (Birmingham), Cadogan Hall, the Vienna Konzerthaus and on tour with The Royal Opera.

Members of the Orchestra play an active role in events across the Royal Opera House, including working with the Learning and Participation teams. The Orchestra accompanies performances that are streamed all over the world, including through cinema screenings and broadcasts. They appear on many CDs and DVDs including Pappano’s acclaimed studio recording of Tristan und Isolde with Plácido Domingo and Nina Stemme.

The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House was founded in 1946 when the Royal Opera House reopened after World War II.

Important Info
Type: Ballet
City: London, Great Britain
Starts at: 19:30
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