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Metropolitan Opera Live in HD

post #1 of 133
Thread Starter 
Perhaps there are a few opera fans around here....

The Met is simulcasting six Saturday matinee performances this season to suitably equipped movie theaters. Check out the performances and the theaters in your area at http://www.fathomevents.com/index.asp ... ($18.00 per ticket.)

I'm in downtown Chicago and the closest of the three options is about 25 miles away. I've bought tickets for the Magic Flute and will be going with 5 other folks. Unfortunately the most convenient theater location doesn't have a nice new 2K DLP Cinema projector. (It has a Christie LW40 LCD unit.) We decided to give this theater a try. If it's not too good, we may have to go further to the one theater complex that does have DLP Cinema. (Assuming they'll actually be using the DLP Cinema equipment.)

Anyone else interested in this?
post #2 of 133
I am, though I am a bit put off by the cost. Assuming it's showing in Atlanta somewhere I still might try to go.

I broke the bank on DVDs at Tower's going out of business sale, primarily going after Criterions and Operas (the Opus Arte ones are particularly seductive- expensive as the mischief, but a great deal of them were shot in high definition, and the sound is great too: PCM and dts).
post #3 of 133
Thread Starter 
S.D.: $18 is a LOT cheaper than tickets at the Met. Follow the links and put in a ZIP code to find where it will be showing...

BTW, I am very happy with the Opus Arte DVDs which I own. According to their website, they've been recording in HD for six years and plan to start issuing on HD DVD in fall 2007. Those discs should be superb!

These Met performances may show up on HD discs in the future too.
post #4 of 133
Thread Starter 
Here's a mention from TV Technology magazine:

Met to Offer Live Opera in HD in Theaters


The Metropolitan Opera in New York City will begin providing live HD-quality presentations of six upcoming productions at designated motion picture theaters throughout North America and Europe, starting this Saturday, Dec. 30.

A handful of movie theaters in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Norway and Denmark will be equipped to provide full-screen HD images and surround sound audio of each opera production from the Met in Lincoln Center. Specific theater locations and ticket prices are listed at the Met's Web site. http://www.metoperafamily.org/metope...hd_events.aspx

The HD broadcasts will be presented live, starting at 1:30 p.m. EST (6:30 p.m. GMT). The opera lineup includes:

* "The Magic Flute," Dec. 30 -- an abridged 100-minute version of Mozart's opera sung in English.

* "I Puritani," Jan. 6 -- featuring a current opera sensation, Russian soprano Anna Netrebko ("Audrey Hepburn with a voice," according to one critic).

* "The First Emperor," Jan. 13 -- the world premiere broadcast of Chinese composer Tan Dun's epic opera.

* "Eugene Onegin," Feb. 24 -- American soprano Renee Fleming joins Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky for this broadcast of Tchaikovsky's sweeping epic.

* "The Barber of Seville," March 24 -- the instantly familiar music of Rossini's masterwork featured in cartoons, commercials and TV shows, is presented in its original form.

* "Il Trittico," April 28 -- Jealousy, murder, suicide, religious rapture, intrigue and young love -- Puccini's triple-bill of one-act operas.
post #5 of 133
Thread Starter 
Here's a link to an article with some technical information: http://www.broadcastingcable.com/ind...338302#6389744

According to WFMT, the classical radio station here in Chicago, both theaters are SOLD OUT for the Magic Flute on 12/30.
post #6 of 133
Thread Starter 
The Met has updated their site at: http://www.metoperafamily.org/metope...hd_events.aspx

There will be an "Encore" showing of "The Magic Flute" on 1/23 at 7:30pm (local) at several theaters, including some which did not do the "Live" show. I may go see it again, but now at a theater within walking distance.
post #7 of 133
As these will not be broadcast in HD, any chance of the performances making it onto HD-DVD down the road?
post #8 of 133
Here in Minnesota our public TV does indeed broadcast these operas in HD. I have seen several and they are the most impressive television experiences I have had in my life. I got into HD because I love baseball, but I also love opera. I have found that this topic has not been publicized. Here, is the only mention of home HD opera that I have found. The opera companies, opera magazines, broadcasters, the press in general... don't seem to know anything or care very much. I could not find anyone at the Met who cared about it. At my local PBS station I found a person who knew they had it. She said that they don't promote it because the "analog people" complain that they are missing something. I don't get it. I don't know anyone else who has seen it. I have Sony 46XBR3 1080P HD and a good sound system. You won't believe it when you see these programs on it.

What on earth are they waiting for? The printed opera magazines could sell advertising for HD TV. The home broadcasts could be a huge breakthrough for classical music and art. Why don't we have a good HD classical music/theater premium channel? All of the wonders of opera, ballet, music, and theater could be coming to us in HD. The Discovery Channel HD classical performances have been magnificent... but not much promotion either. I suppose the underlying truth is that classical music and art hangs by its fingernails these days. I think HD could save it.

I also endorse Blu-ray discs. This is the very best image that I have ever seen. Unfortunately... no real classical art yet. The Met should produce a Blu-ray disc of one of their HD opera programs. What a way to sell HD equipment to some of us. Seriously... it is better than being at the opera house.
post #9 of 133
I skipped buying operas on DVD (in general).
Have been waiting for the day when lossless audio is possible.
Opera on BD...bring 'em on!
post #10 of 133
Thread Starter 
I'm rather sure that Peter Gelb has made contractual provisions for putting out the Met's productions on discs. But no announcements (or even good rumors) have been made.

WTTW in Chicago has shown the first three productions in HD, though as Bob North points out, there's very little promotion. If you're interested, go to the Met's website and get on their email list.

The HD broadcast from PBS looked better on my front projection system than in the movie theaters. Of course the theaters around here are using LCD projectors intended for the pre-show ads....

Opus Arte, who have put out some of the very best opera DVDs, have released Swan Lake on HD DVD and plan several operas on HD DVD this fall. See http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=817267 Maybe not "lossless", but I suspect it will sound very good.

Another Met Opera thread: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=720428
post #11 of 133
The price doesn't put me off, it's just I have no interest in going to a commercial movie theater. I'd rather pay $18 to see it at home.

post #12 of 133
Neat idea, but I am also not enamored of the idea of going to a sticky movie theater to see a recorded opera and hearing bass from the latest Spider Man movie coming through the walls at inopprtune moments.

But I'd pay for operas on a very well recorded DVD or on Blu-Ray. The problem today is that too many operas on DVD don't look or sound nearly as good as rock concert DVDs such as the Eagles' Hell Freezes Over. And too many opera stars are still mugging it up for the back row (Hayashi Yasuko in the La Scala release of Madame Butterfly comes to mind), which results in them looking distractingly silly during close ups.

It would be nice if we could all put together a list of the opera DVDs with the best audio and video. While Amazon has reviews of most opera DVDs, I don't trust Amazon reviewers to be as discerning about audio and video, or to be as able to tell what looks good via FP, as AVS members. I could not add much to such a list as I have only recently started viewing operas on DVD and have not had a chance to see more than one version of any production.

I can say that the La Scala Madama Butterfly has a very Japanese feel to it and that most of the singers are very natural in their acting (other than the star and the baby, who while he does not say anything, looks a bit lost and is much too old for the role). I really liked the performance for a lot of reasons. But the video is only TV broadcast quality and the audio was nothing special either, though it did the job. I just watched this opera in a live performance and on this DVD so it is fresh in my mind.
post #13 of 133
Thread Starter 
Luckily, there ARE people interested in going to movie theaters to see the Metropolitan Opera. Enough that this experiment will continue and expand next year to eight operas. At some point, it's very likely that they WILL be released on HD discs.

I'm quite happy to spend the $18 even though I might see it on PBS a month or two later. At the theater I go to, the floors aren't sticky and there's no sound from the adjacent auditorium. Plus, the opera crowd is better behaved than the usual movie crowd. As a bonus, I treated myself to a few minutes of "Spider Man 3" in 2K DLP Cinema after the "Barber of Seville." If only they used that projector for the Met on Saturday afternoons!

If you're looking for opera DVDs which will look good on a front projection system, check out the Opus Arte catalog. http://www.opusarte.com/pages/home.asp They put out "Taste of the Arts" sampler DVDs for about $10. I own and especially like their "Carmen" with von Otter and the "Die Fledermaus" from Glyndebourne.

Their "Magic Flute", "Midsummer Night's Dream" and "The Merry Widow" are expected to be released on HD DVD later this year.

Other hints: 1) I find the DVD reviews in the "BBC Music" magazine quite helpful in deciding what to buy. 2) For top quality widescreen video, stick to productions in the last six or seven years.
post #14 of 133
Speaking of Opus Arte, has anyone seen the La Scala Collection? Not HD, but it still seems to be priced too good to be true: http://www.amazon.com/Collection-Lec...9521028&sr=1-3
post #15 of 133
Thread Starter 
That collection is indeed a great deal.
Details on individual titles at:
post #16 of 133
Not exactly opera, but I just saw the Bernstein "Candide" DVD over the weekend. Great sound, great picture, wonderful singing and music, and very funny. Highly recommended.
post #17 of 133
Thread Starter 
Another recommendation, one of my all-time favorites: Sondheim's "Sweeney Todd." Some consider it "opera", including Lyric Opera of Chicago. The San Francisco Symphony Orchestra's 2001-- "Sweeney Todd in Concert" -- with Patti Lupone, George Hearn, and Timothy Nolen is one of my favorite DVDs.
post #18 of 133
Thread Starter 
For those few opera and HD fans in Chicago: WTTW 11 will show Onegin, Barber, and Trittico on three successive Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM - 6/17, 6/24, and 7/01. (In regular old NTSC.) But we're out of luck for HD.

An email today from the Member and Viewer Service Department:
"Unfortunately, they are not currently scheduled to air on WTTWD.
WTTW11 depends on the generous support from viewers like you."

I'm not terribly surprised, nor am I feeling particularly generous.
post #19 of 133
Thread Starter 
Five Metropolitan Opera High-Definition Transmissions from the 2007-08 Season to be Released on DVD

July 18, 2007


New York, NY (July 18, 2007)-- The Metropolitan Opera has made a deal with EMI Classics to release the first of its new and acclaimed high-definition (HD) transmissions on DVD. EMI has secured exclusive worldwide DVD distribution rights for an initial selection of five performances from the Met's ground-breaking new series, all chosen from next season's schedule of eight productions. The Met's inaugural 2006-07 season of six live HD programs proved to be a critical and popular hit, reaching 325,000 audience members around the world who attended performances relayed into movie theaters in North America, Europe, and Japan.

In its new deal with EMI, the Met retains the digital distribution rights for these five programs, as well as the DVD rights and digital distribution rights to the other programs which it has produced.

The Met's five-title deal with EMI includes the following opera performances scheduled for the 2007-08 season:

Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel (January 1), starring Christine Schafer and Alice Coote in a new English-language production by Richard Jones and conducted by Vladimir Jurowski;

Verdi's Macbeth (January 12) starring Lado Ataneli in a new production directed by Adrian Noble;

Puccini's Manon Lescaut (February 16), starring Karita Mattila and Marcello Giordani;

Britten's Peter Grimes (March 15), starring Anthony Dean Griffey and Patricia Racette in a new production directed by John Doyle and conducted by Donald Runnicles; and

Puccini's La Boheme (April 5), starring Angela Gheorghiu and Ramon Vargas and conducted by Nicola Luisotti. Met Music Director James Levine conducts Macbeth and Manon Lescaut.

In addition to the opera performances, the releases will feature bonus material that includes some of the popular intermission features the Met produces for the live HD transmissions. The Met and EMI plan to discuss the possibility of other projects for release, both as DVDs and as audio records, culled from the historic Met archives as well as from the 2006-07 HD season.

"With the expansion of our network of movie theaters around the world, we anticipate an audience of one million attendees in movie theaters next season for our HD transmissions," said Peter Gelb, the Met's General Manager. "In the grand opera version of a movie roll-out, we plan on subsequent releases in many other formats, including DVD, which is why we are very pleased with our new arrangements with EMI."

"We are delighted to be a partner of the great Metropolitan Opera and the innovative media strategy which Peter Gelb has introduced," said Costa Pilavachi, President of EMI Classics. "This is a natural partnership as so many of our top stars are regular guests at the Met and we look forward to making these wonderful DVDs available to people in every corner of the globe."

As owner of the digital and electronic rights to the productions licensed to EMI, the Met plans to make this programming available through its consumer website and through various other video distribution services, as well as on PBS and foreign television broadcasting systems. The Met is also negotiating with similar companies for the release of its other HD titles on DVD.

The inaugural series of high-definition transmissions received enormous attention internationally and sold out in many movie theaters throughout North America, Europe, and Japan, including both live and encore presentations. The Los Angeles Times praised the series: "The Met's experiment of merging film with live performances has created a new art form. This venture may be the most significant development in opera since the supertitle." The Met is expanding the 2007-08 series from six to eight live opera transmissions, beginning on December 15, 2007.

About EMI Classics

EMI Classics, which includes the Paris-based label Virgin Classics, is one of the world's leading classical music labels which regularly records such distinguished orchestras as the Berliner Philharmoniker and the Wiener Philharmoniker and has exclusive recording contracts with artists including Sir Simon Rattle, Antonio Pappano, Maxim Vengerov, Nigel Kennedy, Angela Gheorghiu, Natalie Dessay, Diana Damrau, Joyce DiDonato, and Kate Royal amongst others. The company has regularly recorded international superstars such as Placido Domingo, Itzhak Perlman and Kiri Te Kanawa and has a back catalogue featuring historic recordings by Mstislav Rostropovich, Maria Callas, Victoria de los Angeles, Dame Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Jacqueline du Pre, Herbert von Karajan, Otto Klemperer, Sir Adrian Boult, and Sir John Barbirolli as well as the longest-serving artist in the history of the record industry, the violinist and conductor Yehudi Menuhin. For more information please visit www.emiclassics.com.

About the Met

Under the leadership of General Manager Peter Gelb and Music Director James Levine, the Metropolitan Opera has launched many new initiatives to connect the company with a larger audience. The Met has made a commitment to presenting modern masterpieces alongside the classic repertory, with highly theatrical productions featuring the greatest opera stars in the world. New audience development initiatives include free open houses that offer the public access to final dress rehearsals of new Met productions; reduced ticket prices, including an immensely popular new rush ticket program; and the new Arnold and Marie Schwartz Gallery Met exhibiting contemporary art. As a result of these efforts, the Met experienced its first box office increase in five years during the 2006-07 season: total ticket sales increased by 7.1% from the previous season, with 88 performances selling out compared to 22 the season before. In 2007-08, the Met will debut seven new productions, the most the Met has presented in one season in 40 years.

Building on 76 years of international Saturday radio broadcasts - now heard over the Toll Brothers-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network - the Met recently began to use advanced media distribution platforms and state-of-the-art technology to attract new audiences and reach millions of opera fans around the world. In addition to the Met's live transmissions, which were later broadcast on PBS's new "Great Performances at the Met," the company recently launched Metropolitan Opera Radio on Sirius, a 24-hour satellite radio channel broadcasting both live and rare historical performances. With support from RealNetworks, the Met began free live streaming of performances on its website. For more information, please visit: www.metopera.org.
post #20 of 133
It looks like WGBH in Massachusetts, will be airing the five Metropolitan Opera HD telecasts starting 9/1/2007 along with some other programming in their annual "Opera Bash". I know this is a long-shot, but if anyone would like to set up a trade, I have some recordings of HD art-centered programming that I would be willing to part with in order to get good, HD copies of "The Magic Flute", "I Puritani", and "The Little Prince", I already have the other four. Email if you're interested: earcoke at yahoo dot com.

Even if you're not interested in a trade, if you have a decent screen and surround audio system, these performances in HD are fantastic viewing and were more successful than anyone was expecting in the theater simulcasts. One week they ranked #16 or so in the weekly box-office, with only one screening in a very limited number of theaters. I think it was so successful because every detail seems to come through, unlike regular non-HD telecasts, which are almost criminally poor representations of what opera can offer. One last thing, if you're not interested in opera already, I'd stay away from "The First Emperor". It might turn you off.

Happy viewing to the 1 or 2 people that might read this.
post #21 of 133
Thread Starter 
HDelevation, Thanks for signing up and posting the good news regarding WGBH's plans. On other threads/ sites, I've read lots of negative comments about WGBH's programing priorities. So this is good news, indeed.
WTTW in Chicago still has only shown the first 3 in HD, though they've shown all 6 in SD.
post #22 of 133
Thread Starter 
Gerard Mortier Wants to Bring Audiences from the Movies to the Opera (Not the Other Way Around)

By Matthew Westphal

01 Oct 2007

Observers in the Big Apple already know that Gerard Mortier has big plans to remake New York City Opera when he becomes the company's artistic director in the fall of 2009. What they may not know so well -- yet -- is his penchant for tossing ideological cherry bombs.

Last week, for instance, he said that the Metropolitan Opera's initiative of broadcasting opera performances into cinemas is going in "exactly the wrong direction." Giving the opening address of a conference titled "European Dramaturgy in the 21st Century" in Frankfurt on September 26, Mortier told the audience of directors, theater administrators and dramaturges that encouraging audiences to see opera onscreen was giving up the crucial element of the art form, the live experience, according to a report from Deutsche Presse-Agentur.

"We shouldn't bring opera to the movies; we should bring people from the movies to the opera," he said.

.... read more at http://www.playbillarts.com/news/article/7125.html
post #23 of 133
Thread Starter 
The Met's website ( http://www.metoperafamily.org/metope...hd_events.aspx ) gives information on the eight (8) performances for this season. Also, the link to the "live" theater locations is now active. Many more theaters than last season. Price now $22.

I've been trying to find out what projectors the theaters near me will be using. One complex has sixteen (16) DLP Cinema screens. But they're bringing in an LCD "HD" projector for the Met. More dashed hopes...
post #24 of 133
I'm glad this thread keeps bobbing up. Good selection of operas. I'll be there for some of them this time.
post #25 of 133
Thread Starter 
More opera at the movies! An interesting article:

Showing soon: nights at the opera
Glyndebourne is coming to the silver screen. Our correspondent gets a taste of a different operatic experience

A half-hour interval filled with popcorn, cheese nachos and Coke -- watching Cosi fan tutte in the cinema is not very Glyndebourne. But that's the point. Opera is going to the movies and shedding its posh trappings. Mozart's opera is the first of three Glyndebourne productions -- Tristan und Isolde and Giulio Cesare are still to come -- filmed during the summer and now screening in ten Odeon cinemas around the UK.

.... [snipped]
post #26 of 133
It's interesting that they say they are in negotiation to show them here (or make them available in some way or other), but with two Tristans in the offing it will be interesting to see if the Met will try to block it or at least delay it until they do their broadcast.

"I find nothing more boring than watching opera on screen. It might put people off live opera,” sez general director of The English Touring Opera, James Conway. Well if you shoot it properly- which means you might have to do it without an audience- it can be quite gripping. The one broadcast of last year's Met offerings I saw did suffer from an overabundance of the same old telephoto camera angles.
post #27 of 133
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Shaded Dogfood View Post

It's interesting that they say they are in negotiation to show them here (or make them available in some way or other), but with two Tristans in the offing it will be interesting to see if the Met will try to block it or at least delay it until they do their broadcast.

"I find nothing more boring than watching opera on screen. It might put people off live opera, sez general director of The English Touring Opera, James Conway.

Well if you shoot it properly- which means you might have to do it without an audience- it can be quite gripping. The one broadcast of last year's Met offerings I saw did suffer from an overabundance of the same old telephoto camera angles.

The Met might very well have some sort of exclusivity in their contracts with the movie theaters. But clearly DVDs and HD discs could be released without any issues.

The attendees at the Met's simulcasts seem to not share Mr. Conway's opinion.

Shooting without an audience would greatly increase the costs, probably making the whole project infeasible. The Met has tried hard to get a variety of camera angles, such as using a robotic camera moving along the edge of the stage.

BTW, the 10/22 issue of The New Yorker has a long article on Peter Gelb and the Met. But that article is NOT online.
post #28 of 133
Thread Starter 
The Met gets competition! See below.

And there are TWO theaters near me, neither of which is in the Met's program. One has a 2K DLP Cinema projector. The other has eighteen Sony 4K projectors! I hope they use their big projectors rather than the pre-show projectors that most of the Met's theaters have used.



La Scala to Present Operas in US Movie Theaters, Beginning Dec. 2 with Aida

With the Metropolitan Opera's Saturday afternoon movie theater broadcasts having been such a success so far, other major companies have been exploring similar projects. Milan's celebrated Teatro alla Scala is now set to offer high-definition screenings of seven operas over the course of this season, beginning next month with last December's headline-making Aida.

post #29 of 133
Originally Posted by Shaded Dogfood View Post

"I find nothing more boring than watching opera on screen. It might put people off live opera, sez general director of The English Touring Opera, James Conway.

all due respect to mr. conway, but it's that type of attitude that makes people not even TRY opera in the first place...

i'd think that being introduced to it (especially subtitled) on someone's tv in the comfort of their own home would be the best way... then people would really realize that operas are (strike me down for this blasphemy) just another version of musicals (that people as a general rule like)....
post #30 of 133
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Shaded Dogfood View Post

It's interesting that they say they are in negotiation to show them here (or make them available in some way or other), but with two Tristans in the offing it will be interesting to see if the Met will try to block it or at least delay it until they do their broadcast.

Well, make that THREE Tristans. * January 2008 - Wagner's Tristan und Isolde from La Scala

The production that opens the house's 2007-08 season on December 7. A staging directed by Patrice Chereau, with Daniel Barenboim conducting; starring are Ian Storey (Tristan), Waltraud Meier (Isolde), Michelle DeYoung (Brangane) and Matti Salminen (King Marke).

The theaters (at least in my area) that plan to show La Scala are NOT part of the group showing the Met.

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