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.
Belle star Gugu Mbatha-Raw is marvellous as the extraordinary young singer who is propelled in to a roller-coaster career in pop by her ambitious mother (Minnie Driver). The movie chronicles how the music industry remakes Noni in its own highly sexualized image, but suggests (with an element of wish fulfillment) that there is a way out, and true love can save the day.
"Magnificent ... On its surface [it] seems to be a candy-colored pop fantasy about the love between a beautiful hip-hop superstar and a hunky cop. To be fair, it’s not not that. But how bracing today to have a film that’s at once fun, patient, romantic, and real ... Beyond the Lights is a deft, gorgeous movie ... As we watch this dreamy, colorful piece of musical and romantic wish-fulfillment, we get the distinct sense we’re watching real life unfold." — Bilge Ebiri, New York magazine
"One of the most pleasurable moviegoing experiences I had this year." — Manohla Dargis, New York Times
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
Join comedian and host Simon King for an evening honouring Robin Williams and his contribution to comedy, dramatic acting and bridging the two very different worlds of stand up and Hollywood. King, along with a panel of guests (to be announced) will also lead a conversation about mental health and addiction, the impact of these serious issues on the comedy community and the support and solutions available. The evening will wrap with a screening of the 1987 classic Good Morning, Vietnam, Williams’ breakthrough movie role.
When tenor Paul Potts performed Puccini’s Nessun Dorma on the first episode of TV show Britain’s Got Talent in 2007 it caused a sensation. 115 million YouTube hits later, the South Wales phone salesman’s story has inspired this warm, funny, very British feel-good movie, a curtain-opener for our 2015 Royal Opera House series, which starts in March.
"Irresistible." — David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter
"A sweet, funny, heartfelt film." — Annlee Ellingson, LA Times
"Hits all the right notes." — Anthony Kaufman, Screen International
The animated short film nominees are:
The Bigger Picture (Daisy Jacobs and Christopher Hees) – 7 minutes/GB; The Dam Keeper (Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi) – 18 minutes/USA; Feast (Patrick Osborne and Kristina Reed) – 6 minutes/USA; Me and My Moulton (Torill Kove) – 14 minutes/Canada; A Single Life (Marieke Blaauw, Joris Oprins, Job Roggeveen) – 2 minutes/The Netherlands. These films will be supplemented by four runners-up.
Each year VIFF Vancity Theatre is proud to present the nominees for best live action short film. This year these are Aya (Oded Binnun and Mihal Brezis) – 39 minutes/Israel, France; Boogalo and Graham (Michael Lennox and Ronan Blaney) – 14 minutes/GB; Butter Lamp (Hu Wei and Julien Féret) – 15 minutes/France, China; Parvaneh (Talkhon Hamzavi and Stefan Eichenberger) – 25 minutes/Switzerland;The Phone Call (Mat Kirkby and James Lucas) – 21 minutes/GB.
In the first of our series bringing you opera productions from London’s Royal Opera House, a chance to enjoy the company’s new staging of Richard Wagner’s epic, his final masterpiece. A young man ignorant of everything, including his own name, arrives at the Kingdom of the Holy Grail. Is he the ‘pure fool, enlightened by compassion’, who, it has been prophesied, will purify the kingdom?
Running time includes two intermissions.
An unforgettable experience!
For many, stand up comedy reached its highest expression one night in December 1978, at a theatre in Long Beach, California. In a performance of such authority and control it will astonish anyone who only knows him from his movie roles, Richard Pryor channels searingly candid autobiographical tales of pain, hurt and humiliation into gales of hilarity.
The screening will be proceeded by a half hour set performed by stand up comic Dino Archie.
"Probably the greatest of all recorded-performance films. Pryor had characters and voices bursting out of him ... Watching this mysteriously original physical comedian you can’t account for his gift and everything he does seems to be for the first time." — Pauline Kael
"I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard at a stand-up act, and I don’t think I’ve ever learned so much about comedic influences in one sitting." — Michael W Phillips
Shakespeare’s notorious battle of the sexes gives us one of theatre’s great screwball double-acts in the shape of Katherina and Petruchio – a couple hell-bent on confusing and outwitting each other right up to the play’s controversial conclusion. Director Toby Frow gives us “a riotous mixture of verbal dexterity and slapstick” in an exhilarating production that delighted audiences at the Globe. Katherina is played by the Olivier Award-winning Samantha Spiro
"A laugh out loud production." Time Out
Inspired by reports from the first English colonies in the West Indies and imbued with a spirit of magic and the supernatural, The Tempest is Shakespeare’s late great masterpiece of forgiveness, generosity and enlightenment. Double Olivier Award-winner and renowned stage and screen actor Roger Allam returns to the Globe as Prospero.
"Spellbinding." The Telegraph
"Spellbinding." The Telegraph
“Jeremy Herrin’s production, with beautiful Jacobean costumes and genuinely enchanting music by Stephen Warbeck, captures all the wonder of this play.” Time Out
Globe artistic director Mark Rylance and Stephen Fry star in this critically acclaimed and award-winning production of Shakespeare’s comedy of melancholia. An all-male cast replicate the performance norms of Shakespeare’s time. "Pure comic delight!"
Tickets $15 ($13 students/seniors)
"Sensational… Pure comic delight!"
Ana Valine’s darkly comic drama centres on mother/daughter con artists who just can’t catch a break. Seen through the eyes of 16-year-old Sammie (Paloma Kwiatkowski)—who lives with her pill-popping, alcoholic mom Marlene (Suzanne Clément)—this bittersweet journey leads us through dysfunction, love and addiction, before culminating with an unusual deliverance for this compelling pair. Winner, Best Director, Leo Awards 2014.
Nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Film, this is a contemporary story imbued with the rich, tangy flavour of Celtic mysticism. Ben is a lousy big brother to six-year-old Saoirse — he’s resentful that she can’t (or won’t) speak, and can’t forgive that his mum died during childbirth. Their dad (voiced by Brendan Gleason) hasn’t gotten over it either, but still their life together on the lonely island where he’s a lighthouse keeper seems infinitely preferable to the conventional upbringing their gran has in mind for them, living with her in Dublin. What none of them understands is how fundamentally Saoirse is connected both to her mother, and to the sea ... Dazzling kaleidoscopic imagery and a soulful approach make Song of the Sea is a magical experience, recommended for all ages.
"A quite delightful piece of magical animation ... a bewitching, moving and often enchanting film." — Mark Adams, Hollywood Reporter
"Song of the Sea is a wonder to behold. This visually stunning animation masterwork, steeped in Irish myth, folklore and legend, so adroitly mixes the magical and the everyday that to watch it is to be wholly immersed in an enchanted world." — Kenneth Turan, LA Times
"If I had to recommend the best children’s film out there for all ages, this one, and The Tale of Princess Kaguya, would easily top the charts." — Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor
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
Come experience the Academy Awards on the big screen, complete with Oscar Bingo! Admission is free to Vancity Theatre members (annual membership $2 available on the door). Ages 19+
"Mr. Harris’s film is a family memoir, a tribute to unsung artists and a lyrical, at times, heartbroken, meditation on imagery and identity. The film is always absorbing to watch, but only once it’s over do you begin to grasp the extent of its ambitions, and just how much it has done within a packed, compact hour and half ... Mr. Harris marshals an impressive collection of scholars, artists and photojournalists to help us understand what we see ... He is a wise and passionate guide to an inexhaustibly fascinating subject." — A.O. Scott, The New York Times
"A sweeping narrative that traces from the 19th century to the 21st how African-Americans presented themselves in their own photos." — David Gonzalez, The New York Times online
"An extraordinary new documentary by filmmaker Thomas Allen Harris, is at-once a deep, rich dive into the history of African American photography and — transcending the subject at hand — a master class in visual literacy." — Mia Tramz, Time Magazine
Set in Germany from 1925-45, this Oscar and Palme d’Or winning film adaptation of the acclaimed Gunter Grass novel is the story of Oskar Matzerath. Born with an adult’s intelligence, Oskar throws himself down a flight of stairs at age 3 to stunt his growth in protest at the crazy hypocrisy of the adult world, and forever after marches to the beat of his own drum.
Guest Presenter Ken Wallace is a painter and retired associate professor.
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.
Richard Eyre’s produciton of Verdi’s masterpiece has been one of the most successful opera stagings in the long and celebrated history of the Royal Opera House. We present the original, definitive incarnation of that production, starring the incomparable Renee Fleming as the ill-fated courtesan Violetta, oppose Joseph Calleja as Alfredo and Thomas Hapson as his unyielding father.