Last night, despite the sadly dreary weather, around a thousand people gathered around Nelson’s column to watch Verdi’s La Traviata broadcast live from The Royal Opera House on the big screen.
Complimentary blow-up pillows cushioned bottoms, as we sat on cold Trafalgar Square stone and watched enthralled as the famous tragedy played out in front of us.
For those not in the opera know, La Traviata – via three relatively short acts – takes the audience on a journey of lavish Parisian parties, gambling, duels and death; portrayed through the tempestuous relationship of protagonist Violetta and her lover Alfredo.
It wasn’t just London that was treated to this emotive live Opera experience. Open air screens were erected from Leeds to Portsmouth, Swansea to Swindon and streamed online via the Royal Opera House website.
To be honest, I’m not the biggest opera fan. I remember being dragged to the local theatre to watch La Boheme at age ten, and being scolded by a lady in velveteen and jewels for being “too much of a fidget”.
But for a genre that was once restricted only to the enjoyment of the upper classes, it was a pleasure to see tourists in t-shirts, ladies in saris and hipster students chomping crisps and merrily listening to opera together. And when you’re sat cross legged on the floor with a glass of wine, you can fidget just as much as you like!
If you like the sound of this, you haven’t missed out on a chance to get ‘cultured’ operatic style. BP Big Screens will be showing La Boheme and Rigoletto across the UK and online in July and September. Check #BPbigscreens or the Royal Opera House website for more information