THE BP Big Screen series has been proving massively popular, so be sure to put the last one – a live screening of Verdi’s Rigoletto from the iconic Covent Garden stage direct to Southend – in your diary.

It will take place on Wednesday, September 17, kicking off at 7pm, with a pre-performance build-up present-ed by Dominic Peckham and Natasha Kaplinsky.

The BP Big Screens are free events. Three productions screened over the course of the summer, the two previous screenings being La Bohème and La Traviata, feature exclusive backstage films and live interaction.

Rigoletto depicts the colourful and corrupt world of the court in 16th century Mantua. The opera tells the story of the jester Rigoletto, cursed by a man he has mocked, who is driven to despair by the seduction of his daughter and later by his increasing obsession with revenge.

In the title role of Rigoletto is Greek baritone Dimitri Platanias, and the role of the innocent Gilda is performed by Japanese soprano Eri Nakamura. The role of the Duke of Mantua is sung by Italian tenor Piero Pretti, with Italian specialist Maurizio Benini conducting.

Alex Beard, Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House said: “These screenings are a great way for people to enjoy live opera from Covent Garden, for free and perhaps with a picnic with friends and family too. We’re extremely grateful to BP for their partnership with us, this year celebrating 25 years, and for bringing opera and ballet to people across the country.”

Rigoletto will also be a final chance to enter into the BP Big Screen competition to win a performance of the Royal Ballet’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, with a stay at the Mayfair Hotel and a meal in the Paul Hamlyn Balconies Restaurant – once a part of the Covent Garden flower market. In addition there will be a chance to win a food hamper from the Royal Opera House to the cinema-goer with the best opera selfie using the hashtag #BPBigScreen, via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

This year the screening of Rigoletto will be showed at the Forum, in Elmer Square.