Operas, documentaries and theatre programmes announced for BBC Arts Culture in Quarantine

Performances of Beethoven's Fidelio, Northern Ballet's Dracula and productions from the RSC will be broadcast across the BBC

Violinist Nicola Benedetti
Published: March 26, 2020 at 12:44 pm

From this month, BBC Arts will be hosting the Culture in Quarantine initiative across TV, radio and digital platforms. Its aim is to bring arts to people at home during the coronavirus pandemic.


The following programmes have been introduced by BBC Arts as part of this new initiative:


The initiative will include broadcasts of recent dance and theatre productions from across the UK. This will include a new play by David Greig on BBC Radio 3, as well as a new work from Balletboyz and six Shakespeare productions from the RSC on BBC Four.

Beethoven’s Fidelio on BBC Four
The Royal Opera’s recent performance of Beethoven’s only opera is a new staging by Tobias Kratzner and was recorded just a few days before the outbreak of the virus in the UK. The cast includes soprano Lise Davidsen and tenor David Philip Butt. Antonio Pappano conducts.

Balletboyz: Deluxe on BBC Four and BBC iPlayer
With the remaining performances of its 20th anniversary UK tour now cancelled, BalletBoyz has decided to share the production with audiences at home.

Northern Ballet: Dracula on BBC Four and BBC iPlayer
Choreographed by David Nixon and with music by Schnittke, Rachmaninov, Arvo Pärt and Michael Daugherty, Northern Ballet’s interpretation of Bram Stoker’s legendary novel was filmed for cinema back in 2014 and will now be broadcast across the BBC.

The Royal Shakespeare Company on BBC Four and BBC iPlayer
Productions include Hamlet (2016), Macbeth (2018), Much Ado About Nothing (2014), Othello (2015), Romeo and Juliet (2018) and The Merchant of Venice (2015).

Radio 4:

How to Play
Leading artists from the classical music world take turns in introducing audiences to an iconic piece of music, including Elgar’s Cello Concerto and Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1. They discuss the challenges of such works, and how they approach playing them. Artists featured include cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason and violinist Nicola Benedetti.

Black Music in Europe
The third series of this programme explores the history of black music in Europe in the period between the end of WWII and the late 70s.

Culture in Quarantine Fund:

In collaboration with Arts Council England, 25 new works by independent arts will be commissioned and distributed. The works will respond to the coronavirus crisis and self-isolation. For more information on how to apply for the fund, click here.

Access to exhibitions:

Exhibitions and galleries across the UK which have been forced to close because of the pandemic will be opening their doors online to give audiences virtual access to the art.

Museums in Quarantine on BBC Four
This programme goes behind the scenes at several museums and galleries across the UK: the British Museum, the Warhol exhibition at the Tate Modern and the Young Rembrandt exhibition at the Ashmolean in Oxford.

Scandal and Beauty: Mark Gatiss on Aubrey Beardsley on BBC Four
Actor Mark Gatiss explores the life of artist Aubrey Beardsley, in conjunction with the Tate Britain’s major exhibition of Beardsley’s work.

Titian: Behind Closed Doors on BBC Four
The National Gallery’s exhibition on the Renaissance master Titian brought together the artist’s paintings for the first time in 300 years. This programme explores Titian’s fascinating life and artistic triumphs.

The Big Book Weekend:

The three-day virtual books festival will include video interviews and panel discussions with authors who were scheduled to appear at various British literary festivals, which have now been cancelled. The festival will take place across the first bank holiday weekend in May.


Front Row Late:

From her study at home, Mary Beard presents a new series of Front Row Late on BBC Two with guests including author Margaret Atwood.


Freya ParrDigital Editor and Staff Writer, BBC Music Magazine

Freya Parr is BBC Music Magazine's Digital Editor and Staff Writer. She has also written for titles including the Guardian, Circus Journal, Frankie and Suitcase Magazine, and runs The Noiseletter, a fortnightly arts and culture publication. Freya's main areas of interest and research lie in 20th-century and contemporary music.

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