The first season will focus on the Royal Opera House’s recovery from its complete destruction in the Victorian era, when it was hit by a catastrophic fire, to become the renowned institution it is today.
The as yet untitled drama will draw on accounts from the diaries of Frederick Gye, the general manager of the Royal Italian Opera, as it was then known, and his daughter and secretary, Clara. In 1856, Gye rushed back from Paris to find himself heartbroken in the ashes of the opera house, alongside Queen Victoria.
The story of how a hastily formed group of partners who teamed together to rebuild the house and re-open in just eight months will be also aided by extensive diaries and archive materials from the Royal Opera House collection. It will feature costumes and musical insights from opera’s heyday.
The project is being overseen by Royal Opera House chief executive Alex Beard and J.T. Wong and Himesh Kar for Three Tables. A writer is currently being sought.
The Royal Opera House remains closed during the pandemic but continues to stream content into homes. Its programming has now notched up to 315 million views in 183 countries.
“As the ROH continues to grapple with one of the most profound crises in its history, this project gives us a chance to look back on the ROH’s long, rich and often turbulent past, drawing inspiration as we address the challenges of the future,” Beard said.
Kar said: “We are delighted and excited to be entering this partnership with the ROH and look forward to progressing our search for a writer that will bring this fascinating and ambitious drama to life. It’s a great opportunity for us to work with creatives who are passionate about music and the Royal Opera House itself.”
Wong added, “Everyone involved is keen to discover and work with established, new and diverse talent. This is a series which will thrill opera lovers but we hope it will also inspire a whole new generation of opera talent and fans.”
Three Tables Productions was founded by film and TV executives David Chikwe, Kar and Wong. The outfit is chaired by film director, television producer and media executive David Green who founded September Films and went on to become CEO and then chair of DCD Media. Three Tables is developing several drama projects with the BBC, Fremantle and France Télévisions and has an exclusive overall distribution deal with Entertainment One.