The first transmission, on Saturday, December 15 — Gounod's Rom_o et Juliette, starring Anna Netrebko and Roberto Alagna, conducted by Plšcido Domingo — drew a worldwide audience of 97,000. 435 venues (477 screens) in the United States and Canada sold approximately 77,000 tickets; 100 international venues (100 screens) sold an additional 20,000 tickets.
"The success of Saturday's HD transmission is an indication that the public's interest in these global events is building," said Met General Manager Peter Gelb. "And the demand for tickets to our transmissions parallels the increase in attendance at the opera house in the first third of the performance season. More people are interested in opera today, which is great news for the Met."
There were 88 sold-out screens in the United States, including those in major markets such as New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington DC and Chicago, and at 11 performing arts centers and universities in the U.S.; 33 screens sold out in Canada.
Attendance outside of North America was very strong as well. Twenty-five venues in Europe sold out, including locations in Germany, Austria, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Denmark and the Czech Republic; the presentation sold out in Puerto Rico as well. Rom_o was also transmitted into venues in Belgium, Poland and Norway; it will be presented in Japan and Australia on a delayed basis.
Nearly 2,000 students, parents, and teachers throughout New York City attended free transmissions in their local public schools through the Met's new partnership with the New York City Department of Education and the Metropolitan Opera Guild.
During intermission, cameras went backstage for live chats with Netrebko and Alagna, who were interviewed by opera diva Ren_e Fleming. She also talked with Domingo at the end of the intermission; cameras followed him live from the interview straight to the pit as he gave the downbeat to the Met orchestra.
More than 600 venues worldwide will be participating in the Met's groundbreaking series during the 2007-08 season — triple the number from last year. Through this significant global expansion, "Metropolitan Opera: Live in High Definition" is expected to reach an audience of up to one million movie theater-goers for the entire series.
The 2007-08 HD series continues with a New Year's Day presentation of Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel, starring Christine Sch‹fer and Alice Coote in a new English-language production directed by Richard Jones and conducted by Vladimir Jurowski.
Met Music Director James Levine conducts three of the operas in the series: Verdi's Macbeth, starring Lado Ataneli and Maria Guleghina in a new production directed by Adrian Noble (January 12); Puccini's Manon Lescaut, starring Karita Mattila and Marcello Giordani (February 16); and Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, starring Deborah Voigt and Ben Heppner (March 22).
The series also includes new Met productions of Britten's Peter Grimes, starring Anthony Dean Griffey and Patricia Racette directed by John Doyle and conducted by Donald Runnicles (March 15), and Donizetti's La Fille du regiment, starring Natalie Dessay and Juan Diego Fl‹rez in a new production directed by Laurent Pelly and conducted by Marco Armiliato (April 26). Angela Gheorghiu and Ram‹n Vargas star in Franco Zeffirelli's iconic production of Puccini's La Bohme, conducted by Nicola Luisotti (April 5).
Information on "The Metropolitan Opera: Live in HD," including links to lists of participating venues and sites for purchasing advance tickets, is available at www.metopera.org/hdlive.