THOROUGHLY MODERN MISSY: Royal Opera House live cinema season 2014/15

Thursday the 16th of October marked the launch of the Royal Opera House live cinema season 2014/15. The production on the big screen that night was The Royal Ballet’s Manon with Marianela Nuñez playing the title role and Federico Bonelli as Des Grieux, Manon’s love. Of course, nothing can better the spectacle of such high quality ballet live on stage, but experiencing it in high definition detail on the big screen offers thrilling insights that are simply not accessible from a normal auditorium view. The audience could hear the pointe shoes delicately hitting the floor with every movement of Kenneth Macmillan’s stunning choreography, they could see the sweat glistening on the dancer’s bodies as they contorted and arranged themselves into beautiful shapes, and they could feel the atmosphere of the stage in the comfort of their cinema seats. Though it is difficult to replicate the exact ambience of sitting in the Royal Opera House auditorium, one of the most exciting features of this project is that the audience members, in over 1,000 cinemas across the UK and the world, are also experiencing live action. There is still the drama of unedited performance and the adrenaline rush that comes with it. For those who are unable to make it to the live performances, the Royal Opera House have now introduced ‘encore’ screenings of the productions, which occur on the Sunday following the initial live showing.

The 2014/15 season will run 11 productions in total; 7 operas and 4 ballets. The program is varied, ranging from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (live showing on the 16th December) to La Boheme (10th June 2015) and everything in between. There is something for everyone and it would be difficult to find a reason not to go! Watching these productions on screen offers unparalleled views and close ups of every feature of the performance, from the individual orchestra members down in the pit to the facial expressions of every dancer on stage. The cinema audiences also benefit from beautifully framed shots which bring an extra aesthetic mediation to the productions; the cameras in the auditorium perfectly framed the stunning, heartbreaking final pas de deux between Manon and Les Grieux and also captured the witty and humorous ‘drunk Lescaut’ (expertly performed by Ricardo Cervera) dancing at the beginning of the second act. Watching a ballet in these surroundings is like watching the most eloquent, luxurious silent film with full musical score.

This season the next production to grace the silver screen is Verdi’s opera, ‘I Due Foscari’ on the 27th of October at 7.15pm. I urge anyone reading this to attend at least one of the live screenings  from the iconic ROH. Last year, the ROH live cinema season showed Giselle which had a huge audience of 57,000 people (which happened to outdo Spiderman’s box office ratings for that day!) This year, Manon was the highest box office result for that night. Clearly, there is a reason why these productions are proving so successful: These screenings are a perfect evening out, seeing world class talent, for a fraction of the price (tickets for the screenings are just over £10) and unparalleled views. Check the ROH website for the next screening near you and spend a night at the opera, with a box of popcorn.

More information on the ROH live cinema season here.

Written by Thoroughly Modern Missy, Angelica Bomford.

Multi-Generational Travel Destinations

Students – Lisbon

Lisbon is an enchanting mix of old and new, sun and sea, ups and downs. Navigate your way round the hills and you will find traditional neighbourhoods, breathtaking views, cute cafes and boutiques, all within walking distance. When your feet do begin to ache the modes of transport are numerous: trains, trams, taxis and modern tuk-tuks! Aside from the typical tourist attractions, this capital has plenty of other ideas for young people to explore. Flights are cheap to Lisbon and the night life is infectious!

Stay at The Independente: the trendiest hostel and suites accommodation in the city. This funky venue also offers a groovy bar and restaurant for guests and visitors. Cheap and cool.

Couples – Zurich

Many assume Zurich will be stiff and stern, with thoughts of finance and business, I witnessed the opposite: a fresh and friendly city with beautiful surroundings, a delightful old town, a cool and creative burgeoning industrial quarter, and a culture which is instantly likeable. Just 80 minutes from London by plane to Switzerland’s most popular city, it is the perfect weekend destination for a romantic getaway.

Stay at Baur au Lac: the belle of the town, Baur au Lac hotel is the most renowned place to stay in Zurich. Currently celebrating its 170th birthday the hotel has served many famous and royal guests over the years. Today it upholds the highest level of classic luxury and tradition whilst regularly modernising its facilities. It is a special place for couples to celebrate a special occasion and indulge in a lovely city break.

Families – Cornwall

While my friends jetted off in the school holidays to exciting international destinations my family drove to Cornwall, it seemed like an unfair substitution. Now, years later, I can truly appreciate this amazing county, and particularly take advantage of its close proximity to London. Serene sunny beaches, stunning sights, charming pubs, long countryside walks and a carefree lifestyle, Cornwall is a blissful destination for a refreshing minibreak family holiday. Just 4-5 hours by train from London Cornwall has a plethora of activities and sites for kids and adults. I can particularly recommend The Minack Theatre and The Eden Project, enjoyable for the whole family.

Stay at Bedruthan Hotel & Spa: Set into the cliff above Mawgan Porth Beach on the North Cornwall coast Bedruthan is build amongst a stunning backdrop. This award-winning hotel has been welcoming families for over 60 year and has something for every age-group: free activity programmes, kids clubs, surf lessons and all the facilities to ignite a child’s imagination.

Just Retired – Oslo

Unusual and exciting, Oslo has an icy cold appearance and climate but is perhaps the warmest and friendliest city I have visited. In recent years Norway’s capital has grown in popularity and importance, with the ‘barcode’ business district developing at speed and the hotel and restaurant scene becoming more trendy and diverse than ever before. It may be more expensive than its Scandi counterparts but it has just as much, if not more, to explore and discover.

Stay at The Thief: Less than a year old, the Thief hotel is without doubt the most enticing hotel in Oslo. Located on the water’s edge in the cultural hub of Tjuvholmen, this coveted hotel is the home for every celebrity visiting the city. With an enviable art collection and an alliance with neighbouring gallery, Astrup Fearnley, the accommodation looks as seductive as it feels. Hotels don’t come much cooler than this.

Mature travellers – Alicante

Of all the wonderful Spanish cities Alicante is not the most obvious destination for a weekend break, however with 300 days of sunshine a year and very cheap daily flights from London airports, Alicante is sure to suit those in need of a warm minibreak, all year round. The destination is ideal for older travellers as it offers exoticism without the long flight, warm weather and great food.

Stay at Asia Gardens: This contained luxury hotel is an oasis of calm and luxury 30 minutes drive from Alicante city centre. This Asian inspired exotic hotel offers indulgent rooms, sparkling pools and a traditional Thai spa. With several restaurants and tropical gardens on site there is no need to leave the hotel!

Basingstoke- Pemberley House:  Once you’ve embarked upon most of your travels, an idyllic setting to retire in, could be found in Basingstoke. In the event that you’re looking at your different retirement options, this town situated on the outskirts of the county of Hampshire with its picturesque countryside, may be more than just picture perfect. Gracewell’s Pemberley House care home in Basingstoke,  is a classic example of one of the facilities you could invest in for retirement living at its best.

I hope these destinations will inspire you to travel, whatever your age.

Hot on the Highstreet Week 231

As I get older I look more and more at interiors, I see irresistible wallpaper, sofas, and design features that I want to have in my home with me. Stockholm is one of my favourite cities for attractive homeware, and at the moment there is a surge in interest for Scandi design.

Bxxlght, a design company that creates light boxes in plexiglas with different led light techniques. The company was founded in 2013 by Daniela Upmark in Stockholm, Sweden. Bxxlght is not just a simple product. The light box is a design product, an artwork and at the same time is a stylish disguised lamp. The performance of the light boxes can vary; you could have it standing on the floor, on a bookshelf or place it on the wall.

Upmark came up with the idea in New York in 2011 and the cool product definitely has that ‘Brooklyn look’. She felt something was missing in the Swedish design market, especially at a time when home decor with personal creative touches was so popular. She says: “I wanted to find art that stood out and that did not have to cost as much as an art work from a gallery or from exclusive auctions. For each season we will let a creator interpret a light box, which will be available as a limited edition”, says Daniela Upmark, CEO and designer for Bxxlght.

Buy one of the shop made products with slogans such as ‘You had me at Hello’ and ‘Welcome to Paradise’ (Regular 510 euros 90 x 70 x 13 cm or Small 410 euros 70 x 50 x 13 cm) or design your own to add light and creativity to your home!

Retailers in the UK include Holly’s Home and Astella Hrela. Or check out the Bxxlght website here.