The series kicks-off with the December 30 matinee performance of the Met's new, 100-minute, English-language version of Mozart's The Magic Flute, directed by Julie Taymor and conducted by Met Music Director James Levine.
"The Met has launched an array of new initiatives that are designed to broaden the public appeal of opera," says Peter Gelb, the Met's General Manager. "The company's new media partnerships and expanded union agreements provide unprecedented distribution opportunities and better ways to reach new audiences. The HD movie broadcasts provide a front row seat to the unique spectacle of live opera."Â
Through U.S. cinema partner National CineMedia and Canadian partner Cineplex Entertainment, "Metropolitan Opera: Live in HD" will be broadcast into select movie theaters in North America that are equipped with satellite-based digital High-Definition (HD) projection systems, including Regal Entertainment Group (Regal Cinemas, United Artists and Edwards), Cinemark, and AMC theaters in the U.S. and Cineplex Odeon, Galaxy, and Famous Players theatres in Canada.
Through English cinema partner City Screen, the performance of The Magic Flute will be broadcast live in HD-equipped movie theaters throughout the United Kingdom, including Picturehouses in Greenwich, London (Notting Hill Gate), Cambridge, Brighton and York.
Tickets are available for the first two broadcasts in U.S. theaters beginning November 18. Ticket prices in the U.S. are $18.00 U.S. adults and $15.00 U.S. children. Tickets for the remaining three broadcasts in the U.S. are available beginning December 8. Tickets are available for all six performances in Canadian theaters beginning November 18. Tickets in Canada are $17.95 CDN advance purchase adults; $19.95 CDN same day adults and $14.95 CDN children. Single ticket prices for the UK broadcast of The Magic Flute are £12.00.
"Our theaters have always presented the best that Hollywood offers, and we are excited to be able to bring U. S. audiences the best in opera and other areas of arts and entertainment through the technology of our Digital Content Network," said Tom Galley, chief operations and technology officer of National CineMedia. "This Metropolitan Opera series is a unique opportunity for people to experience world-class opera in their local community, plus the movie theater environment and affordable ticket price make these events something that the entire family can enjoy. If you've never had the pleasure of attending a live opera performance before, this is the perfect opportunity to see why this magical art form has captured audiences' imaginations for generations."
"We are very pleased to partner with the Metropolitan Opera to bring this outstanding series to Canada,"Â said Ellis Jacob, President and CEO, Cineplex Entertainment. "The combination of the Met's superb music productions combined with our giant screens, Dolby Digital Surround Sound, and the comfort of our theatres will make these events the next best thing to actually being there."
Following a thirty-day period, a recorded version of these performances will be presented on television in the U.S. by Thirteen/WNET New York's Great Performances on PBS, beginning in January 2007. All six of the live performances to be transmitted into movie theaters will be broadcast live in the U.S. on "Metropolitan Opera Radio on Sirius," the Met's new 24-hour satellite radio channel broadcasting live and rare historical performances. The matinee performances will also be broadcast over the Toll Brothers-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network.
The Magic Flute (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart): Julie Taymor's dazzling production of The Magic Flute has been abridged into a 100-minute version for the Met's first holiday entertainment presentation, with a new English translation by J.D. McClatchy. The cast includes Ying Huang as Pamina, Matthew Polenzani as Tamino, Nathan Gunn as Papageno, Erika Miklasa as the Queen of the Night, and Ren© Pape as Sarastro. James Levine conducts. Saturday, December 30 at 1:30 PM/ET; 10:30 AM/PT; 6:30 PM/GMT.
I Puritani (Vincenzo Bellini): International sensation Anna Netrebko sings Elvira Walton in the Met's production of Bellini's I Puritani. Tenor Eric Cutler is Arturo, Franco Vassallo is Riccardo, and John Relyea is Giorgio. Patrick Summers conducts. Saturday, January 6 at 1:30 PM/ET; 10:30 AM/PT.
The First Emperor (Tan Dun): The First Emperor, a Met commission, will be conducted by composer Tan Dun, who also co-wrote the libretto with novelist Ha Jin; acclaimed filmmaker Zhang Yimou directs. Legendary tenor Placido Domingo sings the role of the Emperor who unites China and builds the Great Wall. Paul Groves is Gao Jianli, the court composer who defies him and seduces Princess Yueyang, the Emperor's daughter, sung by Elizabeth Futral. Saturday, January 13 at 1:30 PM/ET; 10:30 AM/PT.
Eugene Onegin (Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky): The sensational Ren©e Fleming performs the role of Tatiana in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin for the first time at the Met. Dimitri Hvorostovsky sings the title role, with RamÃƒÂ³n Vargas as Lenski. The Met's principal guest conductor Valery Gergiev conducts. Saturday, February 24 at 1:30 PM/ET; 10:30 AM/PT.
Il Barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville) (Gioachino Rossini): This new production of Rossini's comic opera is staged by theater director Bartlett Sher (The Light in the Piazza, Awake and Sing!). The Met's all-star cast includes tenor Juan Diego Flarez as the Count Almaviva, mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato as Rosina, and baritone Peter Mattei is the title role of Figaro. John Relyea performs Don Basilio, and John Del Carlo performs Doctor Bartolo. Maurizio Benini conducts. Saturday, March 24 at 1:30 PM/ET; 10:30 AM/PT.
Il Trittico (Giacomo Puccini): Award-winning theater director Jack O'Brien (The Times They Are A-Changin', Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) directs Puccini's Il Trittico (consisting of the three one-act operas Il Tabarro, Suor Angelica, and Gianni Schicchi). The casts include: Maria Guleghina as Giorgetta, Salvatore Licitra as Luigi, and Juan Pons as Michele in Il Tabarro; Barbara Frittoli as Suor Angelica and Stephanie Blythe as the Princess in Suor Angelica; and Olga Mykytenko as Lauretta, Massimo Giordano as Rinuccio, and Alessandro Corbelli in the title role of Gianni Schicchi. Met Music Director James Levine conducts. Saturday, April 28 at 1:30 PM/ET; 10:30 AM/PT.