King Richard is called upon to settle a dispute between his cousin, Henry Bolingbroke, and Thomas Mowbray. Richard calls for a duel but then halts it just before swords clash. Both men are banished from the realm. Richard visits John of Gaunt, Bolingbroke’s Father, who, in the throes of death, reprimands the King. After seizing Gaunt’s money and lands, Richard leaves for wars against the rebels in Ireland. Bolingbroke returns to claim back his inheritance. Supported by his allies, Northumberland and the Duke of York, Bolingbroke takes Richard prisoner and lays claim to the throne.
The heir to the throne, Prince Hal, defies his father, King Henry, by spending his time at Mistress Quickly's tavern in the company of the dissolute Falstaff and his companions. The King is threatened by a rebellion led by Hal’s rival, Hotspur, Hotspur’s father Northumberland, and his uncle Worcester. In the face of this danger to the state, Prince Hal joins his father to defeat the rebels at the Battle of Shrewsbury and Kill Hotspur in hand-to-hand combat.
In the aftermath of the Battle of Shrewsbury, Northumberland learns of the death of his son. The Lord Chief Justice attempts, on behalf of the increasingly frail King, to separate Falstaff from Prince Hal. The rebels continue to plot insurrection. Falstaff is sent to recruit soldiers and takes his leave of his mistress, Doll Tearsheet. The rebel forces are overcome. This brings comfort to the dying King, who is finally reconciled to his son. Falstaff rushes to Hal’s coronation with expectations of high office, only to be rebuffed by the former prince who has now become King Henry V.
Henry V has settled onto the throne and has the makings of a fine King. The French Ambassador brings a challenge from the French Dauphin. Inspired by his courtiers, including Exeter and York, Henry swears that he will, with all force, answer this challenge. The Chorus tells of England’s preparations for war and Henry’s army sails for France. After Exeter’s diplomacy is rebuffed by the French King, Henry lays a heavy siege and captures Harfleur. The French now take Henry’s claims seriously and challenge the English army to battle at Agincourt. Henry and his meager forces prove victorious against all odds.
Throughout its 40-year history on public television, Great Performances has provided viewers nationwide with an unparalleled showcase of the best in all genres of the performing arts. In celebration of this extraordinary legacy on the occasion of the series’ 40th anniversary on PBS, a stellar roster of diverse alumni gather to share their personal stories of what Great Performances has meant to them. Includes reminiscences and performances by Julie Andrews, Audra McDonald, Don Henley, David Hyde Pierce, Josh Groban, Itzhak Perlman, Peter Martins, Patti Austin and Take 6. The program will launch this year’s PBS Arts Fall Festival, a multi-platform event anchored by seven films that highlight artists and performances from around the country, with related online content.
PBS Great Performances presents composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer’s award-winning opera Moby-Dick, broadcast as part of the PBS Arts Fall Festival. Composed in two acts and sung in English, Heggie and Scheer’s opera adaptation brings a thrilling new musical dimension to one of the towering classics of American literature, Herman Melville’s celebrated novel Moby-Dick.
From the stage of Avery Fisher Hall at New York’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and featuring an all-star cast, Great Performances presents the New York Philharmonic’s concert staging of legendary composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim’s award-winning musical, “Company”. The groundbreaking musical premiered in 1970 and had Broadway revivals in 1995 and 2006. “Company” centers on Bobby, a confirmed bachelor, celebrating his 35th birthday with his ten closest friends, who happen to be five couples.
As part of the PBS Arts Fall Festival, the legendary Barbra Streisand gives a homecoming concert in "Barbra Streisand: Back to Brooklyn". Mixing her trademark classics with rarer older material and selections from her more recent albums, Streisand, in her first concert appearance in six years, and backed by a 60-piece orchestra led by William Ross, keeps the capacity house enthralled. In all, she sings 27 songs, nine of which she never before performed live, and three which she sings in different ways; that is, either with different arrangements or with newly composed lyrics. Streisand masterfully holds the stage for two hours, joined by special guests Il Volo, trumpeter Chris Botti, and (making it a true family affair) son Jason Gould, who thrilled the audience singing solo and in a duet with his mother.
Pavarotti: A Voice for the Ages celebrates the launch of Luciano Pavarotti’s career 50 years ago. Hear the late, great tenor in some of his finest performances, singing “Nessun Dorma” and other beloved arias from La Boheme, Rigoletto and Aida; Neapolitan songs in arrangements by Henry Mancini including “Mamma” and “La mia canzone al vento,” and audience favorites “O Sole Mio” and “Torna a surriento”; as well as popular duets with Bono, Sting, and Eric Clapton, and with The Three Tenors.
Stage and screen legend Julie Andrews returns for the fifth time to host the festive annual New Year’s celebration with the Vienna Philharmonic, under the direction of Daniel Barenboim from Vienna’s Musikverein. This year's celebration features the melodies of the Strauss family composers and marks the 150th anniversary of Richard Strauss’ birth.
Stage and screen icon Christopher Plummer recreates his Tony Award-winning role playing the legendary actor John Barrymore. This film adaptation of William Luce’s Broadway play is set in 1942 and casts a spotlight on the acclaimed, and often notorious, John Barrymore. The final months of the star's life are depicted, capturing his struggles to prepare for a revival of his 1920 Broadway triumph in Richard III. Barrymore is now in the twilight of his career and no longer a leading box office draw. While wrestling with the ravages of his life of excess, he revisits the highs and lows of his theatrical accomplishments and remarkable life.
The National Theatre opened its doors in 1963, now 800 productions later, the distinguished institution celebrates its 50th anniversary with a star-filled cast of theater legends. The remarkable evening of live performance also features rare glimpses from the archive, spotlighting many of the most celebrated actors who have performed on the National’s stages over the past five decades.
At the Public Theater in New York, Sting performs songs from his 2013 album with the back-up of a 14 piece band. He also performs songs from Broadway-bound musical 'The Last Ship' which explores the demise of the ship-building industry in Wallsend, England.
Great Performances presents Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers, featuring Edie Brickell, in their first-ever live concert to be broadcast on television. The performance, featuring Martin’s unique blend of comedy and bluegrass, took place at the historic Fox Performing Arts Center in Riverside, California in the fall of 2013. The concert includes material from Martin and Brickell’s Grammy-nominated album “Love Has Come For You,” as well as music from Martin’s Grammy-nominated collaboration with The Steep Canyon Rangers, “Rare Bird Alert,” and his Grammy Award-winning album “The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo.”
Great Performances presents highlights from the star-studded concert tribute to Bob Dylan in 1992. An amazing Who’s Who of performers celebrated the 30th anniversary of the singer-songwriter’s groundbreaking debut album from 1962, “Bob Dylan.” Taking viewers from front row center to back stage at New York City’s Madison Square Garden, the special captures all the excitement of this historic, once-in-a-lifetime concert as many of the greatest names in popular music pay homage to Dylan and the songs that made him a legend. Dylan, heralded as the definitive voice of the turbulent 1960's, brought to rock and roll the traditions of poetry, protest and personal confession. Each performer offers personal interpretations of Dylan favorites, revealing the indelible impression he has made on American music from folk to alternative rock, from country to gospel.
Songs: George Harrison -- Absolutely Sweet Marie, Neil Young -- All Along the Watchtower, Stevie Wonder -- Blowin’ in the Wind, Eric Clapton -- Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers -- Everybody Must Get Stoned, Richie Havens -- Just Like a Woman, Bob Dylan and ensemble -- Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door, John Mellencamp -- Like a Rolling Stone, Eddie Vedder -- Masters of War, Roger McGuinn -- Mr. Tambourine Man, Bob Dylan and ensemble -- My Back Pages, Ron Wood -- Seven Days More, The Band -- When I Paint My Masterpice, Shawn Colvin, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Roseanne Cash -- You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere
Rock & roll royalty Donald Fagen (Steely Dan), Michael McDonald (The Doobie Brothers) and Boz Scaggs join forces as their own new super group The Dukes of September, paying tribute to the R&B and soul music that inspired them along with fresh, exciting performances of some of their greatest hits.
With Sleeping Beauty, the British choreographer Matthew Bourne has returned to the music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky to complete the trio of the Russian composer’s ballet masterworks. Bourne began in 1992 with Nutcracker, and most famously he choreographed the international hit Swan Lake in 1995.
Sleeping Beauty is a timeless fairy tale about a young girl cursed to sleep for 100 years. Tchaikovsky and choreographer Marius Petipa used the story in 1890 to create what has became a legendary ballet. Bourne takes 1890 as his starting point, setting the christening of Aurora, the story’s heroine, in the year of the ballet’s first performance. This was when fairies and vampires fed the gothic imagination. As Aurora grows into a young woman, time moves forward to the more rigid, uptight Edwardian era - a mythical golden age of long summer afternoons, croquet on the lawn and new dance crazes. Years later, awakening from her century-long slumber, Aurora finds herself in the modern day; a world more mysterious and wonderful than any fairy story.
The world-renowned Vienna Philharmonic returns to Great Performances for their 11th open-air concert. It was held in the magnificent gardens of Austria’s Imperial Schönbrunn Palace, and for the first time, The Vienna Philharmonic was led by a guest conductor - Christoph Eschenbach. The concert featured piano virtuoso Lang Lang as special guest, and symphonic poems by Hector Berlioz and Richard Strauss.