Programme highlights! 

Don't miss out...

Crowd-pleasers
Since their beginning, the European Opera Days have encouraged participating opera companies to open their doors and invite audiences to discover a theatre and an art form. As always, many theatres will be hosting guided tours of the front of house, but also of the stage and various workshops. Participants will discover how special effects are made, try on costumes and make-up, see sets being built and listen to open rehearsals… An incredible opportunity to understand the ‘making of’ opera. These open doors, guided tours, opera chorus karaoke and ‘opera for dummies’ sessions always have a great success. Every year, opera companies that survey their attendees notice their participants are majorly new visitors, and mostly young ones. The European Opera Days therefore meet a need and create excitement in local communities!

French high notes

This year, the Réunion des Opéras de France has chosen French counter-tenor Philippe Jaroussky to carry a youthful and joyful message about opera throughout the country. On top of his endorsement through advertising and interviews for these celebratory days, he will be giving a free concert at Théâtre des Champs-Elysées on 10 May.

Italian railways

Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane is collaborating with Italian opera, showing opera extracts on screens in Italian stations for the weekend.

A Lithuanian journey

Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre, Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre and Operomanija are putting together a rich programme presented by the various opera-operators of the country, in different venues, including outdoors. The schedule allows the audience to attend all the events as they follow the opera-map, mainly through Vilnius.

Inside Opera: Live

Seven of the UK’s opera companies have joined forces to deliver a unique live event hosted on YouTube offering unprecedented behind the scenes access and insight. Designed for anyone who loves or is new to opera, this ambitious event combines live streamed and filmed footage to take you backstage at the most prestigious opera houses across the country to see rehearsals, hear from its big stars, debunk a few myths and reveal just what goes in to delivering this all-consuming art form, year-round. This live online event, hosted from the Grand Theatre in Leeds, is a chance to experience opera across the UK from the inside and encourages viewers to find out about the opera activity on their doorstep. With English National Opera, English Touring Opera, Northern Ireland Opera, Opera North, Royal Opera House, Scottish Opera, and Welsh National Opera.

A European opera calendar

Twelve European opera companies have come together to produce a sumptuous wall piece – a European opera calendar! Striking production pictures and stunning theatres and stages are on display throughout the year on your own wall. Bregenz Festival (Austria), La Monnaie (Belgium), Royal Danish Theatre (Denmark), Savonlinna Opera Festival (Finland), Festival d’Aix-en-Provence (France), Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe (Germany),Teatro Sociale di Como (Italy), Latvian National Opera (Latvia), Den Norske Opera og Ballett (Norway), Helikon Opera (Russia), Teatro Real (Spain) and Royal Swedish Opera (Sweden), each occupy a month. The calendar is available from participating companies and on www.operadays.eu.

And of course surprise events

Flashmobs will pop up in various venues around Europe, whether live or on screen. Keep your eyes open!

Journey to opera

The lights of the opera theatre dim, the sound of conversations in the audience fades and gives way to expectant silence.  The conductor raises his baton, tension on both sides of the curtain peaks… and, when the music starts and the curtain rises, voices begin to sing… and the magical Journey begins.

It is a musical and dramatic journey that has been enjoyed by people all over Europe - and all over the world - for over 400 years.  Born in Florence around 1600 with the aspiration of re-creating ancient Greek musical drama, the budding art form sprang up in different Italian cities before making its way into other European capitals, via England and France, searching for its form, its name, be it attonie in musicafesta teatraledramma musicalefavola regia or tragedia musicale - or opera.  This quest is still on-going, a final answer to what 'opera' is still eludes us: opera is an on-going, contemporary art form, being created and re-created in opera houses every day.  A 'Gesamtkunstwerk' is the ultimate fusion of the human voice, music and orchestra, drama, lighting, movement and much more.  The Journey to Opera will thus never come to an end.

Linked intimately to the history and developments of Europe, opera also reflects our own life journey, our birth and search for an identity, a flow of events, a narrative pattern, embracing tragedy and humour, silence and noise.

As in life itself, we can all benefit from guidance, support and encouragement.  Education and creative learning departments throughout Europe reach out and encourage citizens from all walks of life to join opera houses and artists on their journey, to join the colourful caravan of opera.  Children, youth, adults, amateurs and newcomers may embark at different points of the journey and at different moments in life; but opera houses and their education professionals make sure to offer everybody a map, nourishment and inspiration to find their place on this fascinating Journey to Opera.  There are many paths of access and the goal is undefined - but the Journey is its own reward.

Join us for the European Opera Days 2014 on a Journey to Opera- and set sail with the people of Europe to a land of opera yet to be discovered - or to be explored anew and over and over again.