The Royal Ballet's season will open on 23 October, with the company's first ever rendering of Rudolf Nureyev's Don Quixote. A heady mix of Spanish dance, pure classicism and comic farce, Nureyev created this version for the Vienna Staatsoper in 1966. In addition, The Royal Ballet will also present a number of new works to their repertoire. These include John Cranko's Onegin and a Trilogy featuring Stephen Baynes' Beyond Bach. Elsewhere, Peter Wright's revised staging of The Nutcracker returns to the repertory for Christmas, Joseph Horovitz has revised the score for Giselle (pictured) and Kenneth MacMillan's Romeo and Juliet returns.
Opening The Royal Opera schedule on 19 September will be Verdi's Rigoletto, featuring Italian baritone Paolo Gavanelli. The concert will also be relayed on a big screen in the Covent Garden Piazza. Pavarotti will be singing in a revival of Tosca, Domingo in The Queen of Spades and Bryn Terfel will appear as Don Giovanni. Haitink is to conduct the first Covent Garden performances of Janaek's Jenfa since 1993, with two special Gala Nights in July to mark the conductor's farewell. Also in the programme are Strauss' Die Frau Ohne Schatten (with set designs from David Hockney), mezzo-soprano Bartoli's Covent Garden stage debut in Orfeo ed Euridice and Simon Rattle's return to conduct a new staging of Wagner's Parsifal.
In a bid to make ticket prices affordable for more people, the lower Friday and Saturday prices are being extended for every evening of three opera productions. These are The Bartered Bride, Duke Bluebeard's Castle/Erwartung and The Turn of the Screw. All school matinee prices are being reduced to £5 and over half the house for all opera performances will cost under £50.
Furthermore, a series of exhibitions at the Royal Opera House will pay tribute to the careers of Ninette de Valois, Margot Fonteyn and Bernard Haitink. October 2001 will celebrate Black History Month with a display in the Piazza Link. The company's education programme will also expand, with initiatives for Young People with autism, plus creative projects and workshops for schools.
- by Gareth Thompson