BBC announces major focus on Opera for 2017

  • A season of programmes across radio, television and online this autumn, celebrating the power of opera, to coincide with the Victoria and Albert Museum’s new exhibition in collaboration with the Royal Opera House – Opera: Passion, Power & Politics
  • Lucy Worsley to present a documentary series for BBC Two featuring Sir Antonio Pappano, Music Director at the Royal Opera House
  • BBC Music is working with the V&A to enable more people than ever before to experience and enjoy opera
  • BBC Radio 3, the home of opera on the BBC, to broadcast recordings of seven operas which feature in the V&A exhibition. Radio 3 will also be broadcasting live from the Museum episodes of In Tune and Music Matters
  • Sir Antonio Pappano to feature on a special BBC Radio 3 Composer of the Week focusing on Puccini
  • Further programming will feature on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Four

Themes from the exhibition will be interpreted through BBC television and radio broadcasts. As part of the BBC’s ongoing commitment to putting arts at the centre of its scheduling, BBC Music will present opera programming across BBC Two, BBC Four and BBC Radio 3.

Chief Curator of the Historic Royal Palaces and broadcaster Lucy Worsley will present a BBC Two documentary series featuring Sir Antonio Pappano, which will explore many of the same operas and cities as the V&A’s exhibition. BBC Radio 3 will present recordings of seven operas, which feature in the V&A’s new exhibition, and broadcast episodes of its flagship programmes – In Tune and Music Matters – live from the Museum as part of the season. Also on Radio 3, Sir Antonio Pappano will feature in a special Composer Of The Week looking at a different opera by Puccini each day, with presenter Donald Macleod.

Further details of the BBC’s opera season and other digital initiatives from BBC Arts in collaboration with the V&A, Royal Opera House and opera companies from across the UK, as well as further broadcasts across BBC Four and BBC Radio 3, will be announced at a later date.

Jonty Claypole, Director of BBC Arts, says: “For over 400 years, opera has proven one of the most exciting, radical and irresistible of all art forms. Working with the V&A, ROH and others, we want to bring alive the remarkable inside story of how it became a global passion, while showcasing some of the finest operatic work across the UK today and re-surfacing treasures from the BBC archive. Working together, we will engage ever larger audiences and inspire a whole new generation of opera lovers.”

This major focus on opera will expand upon the BBC’s existing dedicated opera programming, which includes BBC Cardiff Singer Of The World, a celebration of some of the most promising opera talent in the world, and BBC Radio 3’s Opera On 3, which enables listeners to experience opera performances from some of the very best national and international companies.

Jan Younghusband, Head of Commissioning, BBC Music TV, says: “I am delighted that we are once again working with both the V&A and the Royal Opera House who will create an immersive exhibition that brings the glorious artefacts and stories of opera and the cities where they were created, to the public. The BBC will have a season of programmes, at its centre a new two-part series presented by Lucy Worsley and featuring Sir Antonio Pappano for BBC Two, looking at the pivotal operas and the stories behind the gorgeous tunes we love, and their context in history.”

Alan Davey, Controller of BBC Radio 3, says: “Radio 3 is the year-round home of opera, broadcasting two operas each week and around 90 complete operas each year, and is committed to bringing remarkable music and culture to our audiences. We are therefore incredibly pleased to be working with the V&A to help engage new generations of listeners with this important art form. By broadcasting the operas featuring in the V&A’s exhibition, we hope to help bring them to life for audiences across the UK.”

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