April 5, 2012 1:13 PM
Met Opera HD simulcast - Manon - 4/7This Saturday continues the Metropolitan Opera's Live in HD 2011-2012 series, which I hope you will consider adding to your list of things you must experience at least once.
The simulcast is fabulous as you can see the performers up close and personal, and also we are taken backstage during intermissions, with interviews and peeks at scenery changes.
This Saturday, The Metropolitan Opera is offering a simulcast of Massenet's Manon, starring Anna Netrebko. Last October, Tripp and I saw Netrebko in a simulcast of the Met's Anna Bolena, in one of the the most compelling opera performances I've ever seen. The voices, the acting, the sets. costumes and staging were just phenomenal. And Anna Netrebko proved herself worthy of the lead - one of the most difficult women's opera roles, which only the biggest names in opera - notably Joan Sutherland and Maria Callas - have undertaken.
I am very excited to see her in this dramatic role - the tragic story of a young country girl who aspires to wealth and escapes her parents' sending her to the convent, becoming a prostitute in Paris instead - Saturday.
These HD performances, which are broadcast around the world (October 15 marked their debut in Russia and Spain), are incredible. And whereas tickets to a live performance would cost at least $100, tickets for the movie are $24-30 at the movies. (There will be an encore performance of Manon - the same one seen live - April 25 at 6:30 for $18.)
HD Live is limited to certain theaters. Up until this year, we've had to travel an hour to get to the theater in Fairfax - our closest venue. Not any more. The Cobb Theater in Leesburg is now offering the series. And not only is the Cobb close, it's also exceedingly comfortable. And since not everyone has caught on to the fact that this new theater has opened, it is not crowded at all, whereas some theaters are osld out (Alas, Maddy and her opera buff friends have arrived hours in advance to get tickets in DC, only to be turned away because they were already sold out.)
If you are new to opera, it helps to print and study the synopsis. You might want to Google and read some reviews. I really think opera is having a surge in popularity, especially when I see so many young people studying it:
Anna Netrebko's dazzling portrayal of the tragic heroine in Laurent Pelly's new production travels to the Met from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Piotr Beczala and Paulo Szot also star, with the Met's Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi on the podium.
Approximate running time: 4 hours, 5 minutes
Metropolitan Opera 2011-2012 Live in HD Series
Met in HD - Manon - buy tickets (Fathom entertainment-check out their other great events)
Opera is also misunderstood as being less "real" than Broadway shows, but opera is not related to musical theater, really. It is more descended from Greek tragedy, which is why everything seems so exaggerated in form And ah, the form! There's nothing like the tremendous amount of artistry, time and effort that goes into making an opera - the set, the costumes, months and sometimes years of preparation by a great singer for one particular role.
I recently came across a book which I enjoyed every page of and passed on to my kids, who are enjoying it too: Who's Afraid of Opera? It's reader-friendly, humorous, informative and very down-to-earth. Great for someone curious about opera, but also one who already knows it all. Check your library - or Amazon has copies for a penny.