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See the world’s greatest performances from your sofa

We know times are tough for travellers. There’s a whole world out there, but you can’t go further than your front door. To keep you dreaming of where you’ll go when this moment passes, we’re creating a series of guides that bring the world to you. It’ll never replace the real thing, but hopefully, it’ll remind you of all the wonders out there ready to explore someday soon. 

In our last guide, we looked at the world’s best museums you can explore from home. This time, we’re taking a virtual trip around the world to bring you some of the most thrilling performances, from opera to Broadway to ballet, that you can enjoy online from wherever you may be. 

The Metropolitan Opera, New York City

The curtains are temporarily drawn at New York City’s Metropolitan Opera House. But the organisation is doing its best to brighten the moods of its audiences across the world by offering a daily encore presentation from its Live in HD series, free of charge. Each online performance can be streamed for 23 hours from 12:30am GMT daily, providing a dose of upscale culture at any time of day. 

The English National Ballet, London

Whether you have two left feet or a burning passion for ballet, you currently have the rare opportunity to dance alongside the English National Ballet’s Artistic Director, Tamara Rojo. The Company is offering a series of free online ballet classes for professional dancers and ‘the ballet curious.’ It’s a creative way to keep fit and positive during this insular time. 

The Berlin Philharmonic, Berlin 

Consistently ranking among the world’s top orchestras, the recently closed Berlin Philharmonic known for its virtuosity and compelling sound. Now, the German organisation is giving free access to its Digital Concert Hall, brimming with videos and films of its most lauded performances. All you have to do is register with the orchestra’s website and redeem the voucher code BERLINPHIL. You’ll get full access to over 600 concerts spanning more than 10 seasons, as well as documentaries on the history of the orchestra and its members. 

If live shows are more your thing, you’re in luck. The orchestra also offers scheduled live streams of upcoming concerts, the next being that of Iván Fischer conducting Haydn and Liszt on 24 April. 

The National Theatre, London 

One of the UK’s most celebrated performance venues, London’s Royal National Theatre opened in 1963 and has since produced more than 800 plays. COVID-19 has unfortunately forced the organisation to close its doors for the time being, but it’s offering free screenings of its much-loved National Theatre Live productions on YouTube every Thursday night.

Starting from 2 April, tune in at 7pm GMT for some of Britain’s best theatre online, with each production available to stream for one week after that. On the playbills: One Man Two Guvnors, Jane Eyre, Treasure Island, and Twelfth Night.

Broadway HD 

Who cares about curtain time when you can enjoy Broadway’s world-famous productions from the comfort of your own couch? Broadway HD is offering a free 7-day trial of its subscription streaming service, giving you complete access to its vast array of classic and contemporary Broadway productions.

From productions of Shakespeare to Tony Award-winning blockbusters, there’s something for everyone. Unsure of where to start your selection? Try Brokeback Mountain, Kinky Boots, Swan Lake or The King and I.

And when your free trial leaves you wanting more Broadway in your life, a monthly subscription is just over £7 per month.

MarqueeTV 

Think of it as Netflix for art and culture buffs. MarqueeTV is home to a wealth of dance, opera, music, theatre and documentary content ripe for streaming, ranging from the classics to the emerging. Right now, you can get a full 30 days of free access to its massive catalogue, and then for just £8.99 per month after that. Hamlet, The Fairy Queen or A Midsummer Night’s Dream… what will you dive into first?

Still want more culture?

There’s no shortage of ways to experience some of the world’s best performances right now, from exactly where you’re seated.

For even more classical tunes, the London Symphony Orchestra is ‘always playing,’ with concert streams each Sunday and Thursday on its YouTube channel, and the Sydney Opera House is offering weekly live recordings and never-before-seen footage of its productions. If theatre is what you’re after, the Hampstead Theatre is re-releasing recordings of some of its most popular plays, and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre will be releasing 40 free titles over the next month. 

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