Approximately 118 movie theaters in the US, 20 in Canada, and about half a dozen in England will show the live satellite transmissions, which begin December 30 with the Met's 100-minute English-language adaptation of Mozart's The Magic Flute. The production is an abridged version, specially prepared for the holidays, of the much-talked-about staging by Julie Taymor, the director behind Disney's wildly popular Broadway version of The Lion King.
The next two matinees to be simulcast are on the following two Saturdays:
- Bellini's I Puritani, starring Anna Netrebko and Eric Cutler (January 6); and
- the world premiere production of Tan Dun's The First Emperor, with Plšcido Domingo in the title role, Elizabeth Futral, Michelle DeYoung, Susanne Mentzer, Paul Groves and Hao Jiang Tian co-starring, and the renowned filmmaker Zhang Yimou directing (January 13).
Not all theaters involved in the project will show all six operas: roughly one-third of the participating venues are foregoing The Magic Flute, with a smaller number passing on I Puritani as well, in favor of other fare for the Christmas holidays.
Scheduled high-definition simulcasts later in the season include:
- Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, with Ren_e Fleming, Ram‹n Vargas and Dmitri Hvorostovsky starring, Valery Gergiev conducting and Robert Carsen directing (February 24);
- Acclaimed theater director Bartlett Sher's new staging of Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia, starring Joyce DiDonato, Juan Diego Fl‹rez and Peter Mattei (March 24); and
- a new production of "Il trittico" — Puccini's set of three one-acts, the melodramas Il tabarro and Suor Angelica and the comedy Gianni Schicchi — with Maria Guleghina, Barbara Frittoli, Heidi Grant Murphy, Stephanie Blythe, Salvatore Licitra and Juan Pons (April 28).
Tickets (priced at $18 in the US) for the first two simulcasts, of The Magic Flute and I Puritani, went on sale on November 18; tickets for the remaining four showings become available on December 8. All six of these Saturday matinees can also be heard live over the company's satellite radio channel, "Metropolitan Opera Radio on Sirius," as well as on the longstanding terrestrial radio broadcasts of the Toll Brothers-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network.
More information, including links to theater locations and ticket purchases, can be found at www.metoperafamily.org/hdlive.
Should the number of venues offering the Met simulcasts seem small, bear in mind that (as a company spokesperson pointed out to us) only 135 movie theaters in the entire United States are equipped for high-definition live satellite transmissions. With 118 of those showing at least four of the matinees, the Met has done quite well for itself. Unfortunately for our many readers in New York City, however, none of the cinemas presenting the operas is within the five boroughs: the closest simulcasts will be in Westbury on Long Island and New Rochelle in Westchester County.