Although the idea sounds absurd, the opera you see at the movie theater may be the best opera you ever see.
Now in its second season, the Metropolitan Opera in New York offers opera lovers across the United States and now around the world the opportunity to see live, high-definition performance transmissions of its shows. These performances are simulcast into movie theaters where, for $22, viewers have the chance to see the opera like they have never seen it before.
For many people the opera is the epitome of culture; it is sophisticated, elegant and extravagant, and the Met is one of the most well-known opera houses in the world. With the simulcast productions at Cinemark theatres, moviegoers have the opportunity to experience this cultural feast.
This season the Met has added two more simulcast shows because of its success at the box office last season. For years now, the Met has transmitted live productions of its shows over the radio, but it wasn’t until 2006 that they had the idea to take the transmissions to a whole new level. Although the concept has been hit with criticism from other opera companies and leading figures in the arts, the Met has been successful and does not plan to stop.
Last weekend “La Boheme” was simulcast to theatres and also to several cruise ships on international waters.
“La Boheme” is the story of a group of Bohemians in Paris during the mid-1800s. They struggle to survive but are happy. Rodolfo and Mimi, and Marcello and Musetta are the two main couples who fight with each other and for their food but are all very much in love. The story recently received a 20th-century spin in the musical “Rent.”
The score by Puccini features one breathtaking melody after another and this production was staged by Franco Zeffirelli, legendary director and producer at the Met, the sets and costumes are truly spectacular.
Seeing the opera at the movies gives the audience the opportunity to truly feel as if they are interacting with the singers. Rarely do audience members have the ability to see every facial expression and gesture of the characters on stage, even if they are sitting in the best seats in the house. At the movie theater, you can enjoy opera as it was meant to be enjoyed.
Another unique aspect of seeing the opera at the movies is the opportunity to see the action that takes place backstage. During intermissions and scene changes the cameramen take the camera behind the stage where the audience gets to see stagehands moving scenery and actors racing back and forth as the stage director calls out positions.
All the performances are simulcast on Saturday afternoons at 12:30 p.m. at area Cinemark theatres. The audience is largely composed of an older crowd but young people are also starting to get in on the action as more and more people hear about this unique opportunity.
“La Fille du Regiment” by Donizetti will be the final performance simulcast this season and will take place on April 26.
In relation to SMU, the nearest Cinemark theater can be found off I-635 at Webb Chapel. For showtimes, visit cinemark.com.