A Big-Screen Test for Opera
Simulcasting Has Put A Song in the Hearts of Met Execs. Others Are Holding Their Applause.
By Anne Midgette
When "The Daughter of the Regiment," one of the Metropolitan Opera's most-anticipated premieres this season, comes live to a movie house near you on Saturday, it's a good bet that the theater will be mobbed. Met General Manager Peter Gelb's vision for high-definition cinema transmissions of operas has proved so successful after two seasons that the company is adding more of them every year: 11 have just been announced for 2008-09. And other opera companies are scrambling to catch up.
This spring, productions from the San Francisco Opera, La Scala in Milan and London's Royal Opera House began appearing in North American movie theaters. But the response has not been quite the same. On April 5, 170,000 people around the world saw the Met's "La Bohème." A week later, however, when a taped performance of the San Francisco Opera's "Don Giovanni" played in selected theaters around the country, the Pavilion Park Slope movie house in Brooklyn had all of 13 people in the audience.
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