Top six live screenings at Sunderland cinema this Christmas

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From a festive ballet spectacular to a Victorian heroine, there’s a host of big stage productions coming to Empire Cinema this Christmas.

The curtain has been raised on the December programme of extra screenings at the Sunniside cinema.

The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker

The Empire Extra programme beams live theatre and events from some of the world’s biggest stages, including The Royal Opera House, to cinemas in a bid to increase its offering beyond films.

Forthcoming highlights include:

•December 3 – English National Opera – The Mikado (LIVE)

Set in an ever-so English 1930s seaside hotel, ENO’s dazzlingly inventive staging of The Mikado returns to the London Coliseum for what, for many, has become the definitive production of this much-loved Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera. Broadcast live from the London Coliseum in HD, The Mikado is sung and subtitled in English.

•December 8 – National Theatre Live – Jane Eyre

Almost 170 years on, Charlotte Brontë’s masterpiece is as inspiring as ever. This bold and dynamic production uncovers one woman’s fight for freedom and fulfilment on her own terms.

Director Sally Cookson brings her celebrated production to the National Theatre, presented as a single, exhilarating performance.

•December 10 – Royal Opera House – Cavalleria / Pagliacci (Live)

This screening includes two short Italian operas; each are regarded as the composers’ masterpiece. The two are brought together in a new staging by award-winning director Damiano Michieletto, who sets both operas in a poverty stricken village in 1980s southern Italy, where the Mafia has a hold. The Royal Opera’s Music Director Antonio Pappano conducts a cast that includes charismatic Dutch soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek, Italian soprano Carmen Giannattasio and Latvian tenor Aleksandrs Antonenko.

•December 16 – Royal Opera House – The Nutcracker (Live)

Christmas simply wouldn’t be Christmas without The Royal Ballet’s classic production of The Nutcracker. Loosely based on a story by E.T.A. Hoffmann, it opens with the Christmas festivities of little Clara and her family and progresses through a magical journey to the Land of Snow and the Kingdom of the Sweets.

Peter Wright’s enchanting production with its wondrously growing Christmas tree, retains exquisite surviving fragments of the original Ivanov choreography, including the beautiful pas de deux for the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier.

•January 16 – MET Opera – Les Pecheurs De Perles

Bizet’s gorgeous opera of lust and longing set in the Far East returns to the Met stage for the first time in 100 years. Soprano Diana Damrau stars as Leïla, the beautiful Hindu priestess pursued by rival pearl divers competing for her hand.

Her suitors are tenor Matthew Polenzani and baritone Mariusz Kwiecien, who sing the lilting duet “Au fond du temple saint,” which opera fans know and adore.

•January 26 – Royal Opera House – Two Pigeons / Rhapsody (Live)

This delightful Frederick Ashton double bill opens with his setting of Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, using the music’s dark turbulence and brilliance to inspire some of his most thrilling choreography.

The second half of the programme features Ashton’s delicate, deceptively comic The Two Pigeons – a work rarely performed.

•For tickets visit www.EmpireCinemas.co.uk or call 08714 714 714.