Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria-Hungary is emotionally unstable and haunted by his obsession with death. He is forced to marry Princess Stephanie. Soon afterwards his former lover Marie Larisch introduces him to a new mistress, Mary Vetsera, a young woman who shares his morbid fascination.
At the hunting lodge Mayerling, Rudolf and Mary form a suicide pact. They make love before Rudolf shoots first Mary and then himself. The royal family desperately covers up the tragedy.
The dashing corsair Simon Boccanegra and Maria, daughter of the nobleman Jacopo Fiesco, have fallen in love and had an illegitimate daughter. The child has disappeared from her foster-home. Boccanegra returns to Genoa to break the news to Maria, and learns of her death as a crowd, led by the plebeian Paolo Albiani, proclaim him Doge of Genoa
Clara is given an enchanted Nutcracker doll on Christmas Eve. As midnight strikes, she creeps downstairs to find a magical adventure awaiting her and her Nutcracker.
The magician Drosselmeyer transforms the drawing room for a battle between mice and toy soldiers. During the battle, Clara saves the Nutcracker's life - so breaking a magical spell that turned him from a boy to a toy - and the Mouse King is defeated. In celebration, Drosselmeyer sweeps Clara and the Nutcracker off to the Kingdom of Sweets, where they meet the Sugar Plum Fairy and take part in a wonderful display of dances. The next morning, Clara's adventures seem to have been more than just a dream.
Carmen is the best-known work by French composer Georges Bizet, and one of the most famous operas in the entire art form – numbers such as the Habanera and the Toreador Song have permeated the popular consciousness as little else has. The opera’s heady combination of passion, sensuality and violence initially proved too much for the stage, and it was a critical failure on its 1875 premiere. Bizet died shortly after, and never learned of the spectacular success his Carmen would achieve: the opera has been performed more than five hundred times at Covent Garden alone.