Andrei Serban’s staging of Puccini’s final opera is a glorious pageant of rich colour, dance and drama. Turandot is a tale of disguised identities, riddles, ritual executions and powerful, triumphant love.
Paris in 1855, when the opera was first performed, provides the starting point for the interpretation by celebrated Norwegian born director Stefan Herheim. The opera ballet plays a significant role too, with Johann Kobborg choreographing for dancers from the Royal Ballet and Royal Danish Ballet. The story is set to impassioned and dramatic music, rich in showpiece arias and ensembles with striking choruses. Antonio Pappano conducts a world-class cast including Erwin Schrott, Bryan Hymel and Lianna Haroutounian in The Royal Opera’s first ever staging of Verdi’s grand opera.
Don José (Jonas Kaufmann) is a young soldier in the army in Seville. He intends to marry Micaëla, a girl from his home village, but when he meets the sensual and high-spirited Carmen (Anna Caterina Antonacci), his head is soon turned…Spanish heat and gypsy passion are brought to the stage in Francesca Zambello’s vivid production of Bizet’s famous opera.
Sung in French with English subtitles
Acts One and Two will last for about 1 hour 50 minutes, followed by a 15 minute interval. Act Three will last for about 1 hour 5 mins.
Powerful music, a gripping story and a tragic end: Puccini’s ever-popular Tosca performed with a fabulous cast. Among the star singers in this revival are Angela Gheorghiu, Jonas Kaufmann and Bryn Terfel. Jonathan Kent’s detailed production draws to the full on the historical backdrop of Rome in 1800, an atmospheric backdrop to the love of the beautiful diva Tosca, the idealism of her lover Cavaradossi and the deadly, destructive obsession of the malevolent Chief of Police, Scarpia.
Daniele Abbado explores themes of identity, exile and religion in a powerful staging of Verdi’s epic opera. War has broken out between the Babylonians and Israelites. The Israelites have captured Fenena, younger daughter of the Babylonian King, Nabucco. In revenge, Nabucco vows to destroy Jerusalem, aided by the vengeful Abigaille.
“Domingo’s career, 42 years at Covent Garden and counting, continues to be a wonder of the age.” The Guardian
A lost key and an accidental touch of cold hands in the dark – so begins one of the great romances of all opera. In his depiction of the tender and ultimately tragic love between Mimì and Rodolfo, Puccini achieved an immediacy, warmth and humanity that have rarely been equalled.
Kasper Holten, ROH Director of Opera, presents a mesmerizing new production of Mozart’s sublime tragicomedy. The impulsive and charismatic Don Giovanni travels through Europe seducing women, accompanied by his long-suffering servant Leporello. When he commits murder, he unleashes vengeance from beyond the grave.
Puccini’s first triumph returns to Covent Garden for the first time in 20 years in a new staging by Jonathan Kent. The exciting Latvian soprano Kristine Opolais sings the title role. A consummate Puccini soprano, Opolais caused a sensation as Madama Butterfly in 2011, and with Manon Lescaut, the bold but impressionable heroine, we will see a very different side of her. She is matched in star power by Jonas Kaufmann as her lover, Des Grieux, and Christopher Maltman as her cynical brother Lescaut. Kent’s vision of a young girl who faces temptation in the big city will surely resonate with today’s audience.
This riveting crime thriller follows Oscar, a recent emigrant to Manila who gets pulled into a harrowing world of corruption and violence when he takes a job as an armored car driver to support his family. "It begins as a swirling drama of survival in the Filipino capital - but then suddenly it slips off down an alleyway, only to emerge a scrupulously engineered, Christopher Nolan-ish crime thriller." Robbie Collin, Daily Telegraph
Winner: Sundance Film Festival’s World Audience Award; Best British Independent film 2013.
"It begins as a swirling drama of survival in the Filipino capital - but then suddenly it slips off down an alleyway, only to emerge a scrupulously engineered, Christopher Nolan-ish crime thriller." Robbie Collin, Daily Telegraph
"One of the most enrapturing experiences I’ve had at the movies in 2013: fiercely, grandly humanist, and almost unbearably tragic." MaryAnn Johanson
"The influence of Ken Loach makes way for the dynamics of a Quentin Tarantino-style heist. The result is an expertly crafted heartbreaker that cuts to the core of desperate lives." Allan Hunter, Daily Express
GB, USA, Canada
Shot in Alberta, this fantasy/horror epic concerns the monsters of Midian, and the hero (Craig Sheffer) and villain (David Cronenberg) who are searching for them before the creatures’ existence and abilities are exploited by humanity. Nightbreed now gets an extended cut that has creator Clive Barker’s enthusiastic support. It’s 20 minutes longer but features 40 mins of new or revised footage.
“A rip-roaring monster flick, all the stops out and pumping with imagination."
John Stanley, Creature Features
Considered one of the best films of the silent era, Sunrise was the first American film by German Expressionist director F.W. Murnau. The story, about three people only identified as Man, Wife and Woman from the City (who bobs her hair, wears a black décolleté slip and smokes!), is about the man losing his mind to the vamp and then regaining it. Sunrise features the most innovative camerawork of the decade.
Introduced by Jim Sinclair, artistic director of The Cinematheque.
Arguably the most popular building site in the world, the Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona is still a work in progress, 125 years after the first stones were laid. Designed by the controversial Catalan genius Antonio Gaudi, the Sagrada is a testament to Faith… Faith in God, in the natural forms that so inspired the architect, and also in man, for Gaudi always knew this work would have to be completed long after his life-time.
"This film is more than a documentary, it tells the story using beautiful and quiet images of the transformation of ideas, talks of human endeavour for perfection and in so doing, illustrates that the essential meaning of this edifice lies in its creation process and not only in its completion.
This creative process is illustrated in varying perspectives from inside the incomplete church as well as the complex structure of the exterior parts of the church.
The film gives cause for self-reflection on how the past and present are related, portraying people and destinies involved in the construction of the church and ultimately proves that something incomplete also has its own significance." Jury citation, Erasmus Euro Media Awards
"Both exhaustive and astounding in its detective-like exploration of the history of the impossibly ornate Catalonian house of worship." Jackson Scarlett, 7x7SF
A hitman for the Sicilian Mafia, Salvo is solitary, cold and ruthless. When he sneaks into a house on an assignment, he discovers Rita, an innocent young blind girl who must stand by powerlessly while her brother is assassinated. What follows is an intense exchange fueled by adrenaline and fear between the killer and his witness, one that changes their two lives in an instant. The darkness is lifted from Rita’s eyes just as Salvo decides, against his murderous instincts, to spare her life. From then on, both haunted by their brief encounter, these two damaged souls will attempt to navigate their dangerous next steps side by side.
“Moody… fully immersive… effortlessly intense.” Boyd van Hoeij, Variety
"A soulful romance, an existential action flick and something of a miracle movie - the appealing slow-burner "Salvo" hovers at the crossroads of genre." Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
"A sparse and languid Italian thriller that carries a debt to Melville." David Parkinson, Empire
Discovered by a wood cutter inside a shining stalk of bamboo, a tiny girl lights up the life of this childless peasant and his wife - even though they’re perplexed by the lightning speed with which she grows into an exquisite young lady. Their "little princess" enthralls everyone she meets, and bestows such bounty on the family that they wood cutter moves them to a city mansion, where she is courted by the most eligible bachelors far and wide. A gem of a film from Studio Ghibli’s other master, Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies).
“Princess Kaguya has the feel of a true Takahata film, from its unshrinking emotional fidelity to its sudden, exhilarating leaps into fantasy […] There is a deep wisdom in this film, but a deep sadness too. If it is Takahata’s farewell, it’s one that will have a long echo, just like his 1,000-year-old source.” Mark Schilling, Japan Times
"A visionary tour de force." Maggie Lee, Variety
A pinnacle of animation in the new millennium." Matt Patches, IGN Movies
Fifteen years and 9 Antarctic winters in the making, Powell’s film gives a glimpse into what it is like to spend a full year living and working in the harshest place on the planet, presenting a never-before-seen insider’s view of the frozen south. It’s a dazzling movie, but never more so than in long, endless nights of the Antarctic winter, when the sun never rises, time stands still, and the aurora australis puts on a private show of heavenly dimensions. "An extraordinary achievement that reinvigorates our sense of wonder about the natural world." NZ Herald
You’ll think twice before using that overworked word “awesome” again after seeing Anthony Powell’s film […] There are moments when what Powell’s cameras have captured will bring you to tears. Which is why you need to see it in the dark, on a big screen." Helene Wong, The NZ Listener
Keenly poised between compassion and violence, this gripping slice of Nordic noir is a suspense drama that doubles as a character study. It’s also a rare crime thriller with a sympathetic female protagonist at its heart. Released from prison 9 years after a fateful shooting, Jenny tries to put her life back on the straight and narrow - but past associates have other ideas. A tour de force from writer-director-editor-cinematographer Ommundsen, and from his wife, Salomonsen.
"Stylish… Impressive… Delicate and brutal." Hollywood Reporter
When a homicide detective makes the fateful decision to cover up a hit-and-run accident which kills a man, he invites karmic retribution on a grand scale in this wickedly ingenious suspense thriller.
“A masterclass in throat-squeezing, stomach-knotting suspense loaded with smart plot twists, dark humor and high-gloss visuals." Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter
“A masterclass in throat-squeezing, stomach-knotting suspense loaded with smart plot twists, dark humor and high-gloss visuals. . .A Hard Day is full of smart surprises and darkly funny lurches." Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter
"A total blast." Jessica Kiang, Playlist (Indiewire)
One of the most popular movies at this year’s VIFF, this is both an acute psychological study and a deadpan comedy of manners, a portrait of a family riven by the father’s instinctive act of cowardice in the face of an avalanche during a skiing holiday. For all his attempts to pretend that nothing has happened, everything has changed. But what to do about it?
"An ice cold knockout. Brilliantly perceptive and frostily funny." Aaron Hills, Village Voice
"Damning, frequently hilarious study of imploding male ego." AV Club
"Visually stunning. Emotionally perceptive." Variety
Thirty years before he starred in Ingmar Bergman’s Wild Strawberries, director Victor Sjostrom plays an alcoholic fated to die at the stroke of midnight at New Year’s Eve – thus dooming him to a new role, taking the reins of Death’s chariot and collecting fresh souls for the next year. Aside from its profound influence on Bergman, The Phantom Carriage foreshadows Murnau, Cocteau, and Kubrick’s The Shining.
This silent classic is accompanied by a new specially commissioned score performed live by Funerary Call.
"The film of all films… It completely overwhelmed me. I was shaken to the core.” Ingmar Bergman
"Sjöström’s film is not just an early horror, but an argument for the moral validity of cinema itself." Anton Bitel, Eye for Film
"The Phantom Carriage is a metaphysical howl of a soul’s journey though the darkest of nights." The Brothers Quay
Legendary Nigerian Afrobeat pioneer and political dissident Fela Kuti is brought to life in Oscar-winner Alex Gibney’s (Taxi to the Dark Side) stirring evocation of the man and his music. Kuti’s raw charisma, many wives, mesmerizing musical performances and political aspirations and persecution have been covered before, but Gibney’s decision to fold in behind-the-scenes documentation of the 2009 Broadway musical Fela! makes this kaleidoscopic film as protean and rousing as Kuti himself was.
"There’s nothing like seeing Fela himself - blowing his sax, expressing his unbridled sexuality and living a life like no other." New York Daily News