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Royal Opera House Outdoor Screenings

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by Kat Parr Mackintosh (subscribe)
Young and coffee in varying degrees, Kat also says stuff @ThoroughlyMode
Once relatively inaccessible to any but those inhabiting the upper echelons of society, there's now a way for anyone who wants to to see a Royal Opera House production. Without even needing to pay a penny for the pleasure. And the reason anyone can attend, and they can still all fit, is that the Opera House is inviting you to outdoor screenings of their biggest productions, broadcast LIVE into communal open spaces all across the UK.

There are a couple of big screens in London: this year the main ones are in Trafalgar Square and in a grassy bit just under one of Canary Wharf's tallest towers.

My, how times have changed, but the names of the productions haven't changed that much you can still anticipate swooning to 'Swan Lake' or humming along to 'Tosca' or 'Turandot'. The next event in the schedule is Verdi's, 'Simon Boccanegra', a tale of political and family intrigue that eventually flares up to a grizzly, murderous climax perfect for London 2010. It's a famously complex opera, but the music is bombastic so it should be excellent from the vantage point of a picnic rug tasty morsels spread out around you.

This is the opera or the ballet so it's a civilised event but there are a few things you're not allowed to lay your picnic rug with: glasses (though they seem to ignore the glass bottles, or at the very worst offer you plastic jugs -so you may as well bring Pimms!), outdoor furniture (though pillows are allowed as long as they're not too plump), and no candelabras to top your table off with (the rule is actually no naked flames, so they're probably most concerned about people BYO barbecuing, but there have been candelabra related incidents...). So be warned. But picnics are welcome as is a tipple of what you fancy. Well, it is the opera, darlink.

This is the UK so the weather is going to behave as it will. It drizzled though one of the 2009 events, but there were staff on hand to give out plastic ponchos and ground sheets, and blow up pillows, and people were polite about bobbing under their umbrellas. And some productions benefit from an atmosphere of real live rain.

You opera buffs out there there might be a temptation to sing along. Well, don't think that it's 'not the done thing': there's often a Sing-Along event in 2010 it's Carmen, more specifically the Toreador song, so brush off your bolero and vocal cords and prepare to be part of a rousing, UK wide rendition (the main words are "Tor-re-a-dor Torr-reee-a-dor," etc.)

If you, or any of your party have mobility issues you can arrange a place in Trafalgar Square's limited seating by contacting the Royal Opera House in advance.
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Why? Because it's free!
When: Tuesday 13 July from 7.30pm
Where: Various locations across London and the UK
Cost: FREE
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