Five Metropolitan Opera High-Definition Transmissions from the 2007-08 Season to be Released on DVD
July 18, 2007http://www.metoperafamily.org/metope...il.aspx?id=351
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