The Royal Opera House continues to break new ground as a leader in digital distribution of the arts, announcing today that it will be the first opera house to film and distribute full length productions in 3D for a mass audience.

In a partnership with global 3D cinema technology provider, RealD, the Royal Opera House will bring operas and ballets exclusively to RealD equipped cinema screens around the world offering a stunningly realistic entertainment experience using next-generation digital 3D technology. Recent feature films shown in RealD 3D include James Cameron’s Avatar, Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, Up, and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs amongst others.

The first opera to be filmed and shown in RealD 3D will be Bizet’s Carmen, the world’s most popular opera and a firm favourite with Covent Garden audiences. Carmen will be filmed in June for autumn 2010 release in theatres. Other titles that will be filmed and shown in RealD 3D will be announced in due course.

Francesca Zambello’s successful production of Carmen will be specially filmed using 3D cameras over two sessions during which the complete opera will be performed with the cast including Christine Rice, Bryan Hymel and Aris Argiris. Students and other audiences will be invited to attend the sessions with tickets being sold at a discount because of the 3D filming activity.

Using 3D technology and filming in a cinematic way will enhance the experience for the audience member in the cinema and builds on the portfolio of Royal Opera House productions already available in high definition 2D in cinemas across the world.

The Royal Opera House cinema presentations including the progression into 3D operas and ballets, is part of a broader digital media strategy which ensures that the ROH has the capability to showcase its work across a wide range of media. This includes television and radio broadcasts, cinemas, BP Summer Big Screens, DVDs by our classical music distribution company Opus Arte, online and via mobile technology, therefore enabling people across the globe access to our performances. The Royal Opera House recently became the first arts organisation in Europe and the third in the world to launch its own iTunes U site.