London's Royal Opera House (ROH) has signed a deal with U.K.-based digital-cinema distributor Arts Alliance Media (AAM) and Canada's DigiScreen Corp to offer live and pre-recorded opera in cinemas across Europe for the first time.

AAM will work with Opus Arte, the ROH's TV and DVD-production arm, to transmit the alternative content, which also includes ballet and dance, in high-definition video and 5.1 surround-sound audio.

The first Opus Arte-distributed operas to get the digital-cinema treatment will include those performed at the ROH and other European venues, such as Mozart's "Le Nozze di Figaro" (The Marriage of Figaro) from the ROH; Bizet's "Carmen"; and, from Madrid's Teatro Real, "Cavalleria Rusticana" by Pietro Mascagni, plus Ruggero Leoncavallo's "Pagliacci."

In the U.K., the Odeon cinema chain will screen "The Marriage of Figaro" in 13 theaters on April 21; and the Cityscreen Picturehouse chain will show it from June 22. Other screenings in the U.K. and Europe will be unveiled shortly.

Previous AAM-distributed operas seen at cinema houses include those produced at La Scala; Teatro del Maggio Musicale in Florence; and Teatro La Fenice in Venice.