Metropolitan Opera Begins Simulcasts in Cinemas This Weekend; More Venues Added

Classic Arts News   Metropolitan Opera Begins Simulcasts in Cinemas This Weekend; More Venues Added
The Metropolitan Opera's Saturday simulcasts into movie theaters, part of general manager Peter Gelb's effort to bring opera to a wider audience, begin tomorrow with an 100-minute English-language adaptation of Mozart's The Magic Flute in the now-famous staging by Julie Taymor.

Approximately 118 movie theaters in the U.S., 20 in Canada and about half a dozen in other countries will show the live satellite transmissions.

Since the ostensibly final list of venues was announced last month, more have been added (and the Met indicates that more theaters may yet join the program). While New York City itself was initially not included, two Manhattan locations were recently added: the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center will broadcast The Magic Flute at 1:30 pm tomorrow, and the Regal Union Square movie theater will show the final four operas in the series, beginning with The First Emperor on January 13. And the transmissions have now spread beyond the English-speaking world: The Magic Flute will be shown tomorrow in the Norwegian city of Tromsø and in Tokyo; opera lovers in Copenhagen and Århus in Denmark will enjoy simulcasts later this season.

The Magic Flute will be followed by Bellini's I Puritani, starring Anna Netrebko and Eric Cutler, on January 6. 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, will be simulcast on 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.

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)

- 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).

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

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