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BBC opera series to begin on 24 May 2010

23 April 2010

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa
Dame Kiri Te Kanawa(Photo: John Swannell)

Broadcasts in BBC's major new series, A Passion For Opera, will begin on 24 May and continue through until December.

Featuring newly-commissioned films and performance screenings on BBC Two and Four plus a series of special programmes on BBC Radio 2 and 3, A Passion For Opera offers plenty of substance to engage the serious opera lover.

Speaking about the initiative, which he described as "the BBC's largest ever celebration of opera", Radio 3 Controller, Roger Wright, said: "It allows us to join forces with other colleagues in BBC radio, TV and interactive, to offer listeners unique opportunities to hear first class performances as well as other programming including documentaries, behind-the-scenes glimpses and opera recommendations."

Highlights include a three-part TV series about the role of opera in Italian history and culture, hosted by Antonio Pappano, a documentary tracing the creation of Graham Vick’s recent productions of Aida in Bregenz and Othello in Birmingham, and programmes in which soprano Kiri Te Kanawa and tenor Rolando Villázon explore the secrets of their craft.  

Three full-length opera broadcasts are also planned: Simon Boccanegra (with Plácido Domingo making his baritone debut in the title role) and David McVicar’s Le Nozze di Figaro from Covent Garden, plus Jonathan Kent’s new Glyndebourne production of Don Giovanni.

Broadcast dates will be announced soon via this web page.


Billed as a nationwide hunt for an opera star of the future, the Radio 2 Kiri Prize was launched earlier this year and is the BBC’s answer to ITV’s controversial Popstar to Operastar.

Hosted by Kiri Te Kanawa, the competition is designed to open up opera to new audiences.

Fifteen Kiri Prize semi-finalists selected from regional auditions will perform on air during June as part of A Passion For Opera. The top prizewinner will go on to perform in September at the BBC’s Proms in the Park.


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