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Lunch » Tags » Music » Reviews » The Met HD Opera Screenings » User review

The New York Metropolitan Opera house features live screenings of its operas in movie theatres across the world.

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Watch an opera for a quarter of the price. anywhere in the world

  • Mar 8, 2009
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Rating:
+5
The world famous Metropolitan Opera House in New York allows anyone in the world to catch a live opera performance in the comfort of their local movie theater, and the experience is well worth it.  The "High Definition" screenings run about three and a half hours with two intermissions and feature great camera shots and loud, booming singing and music as though you were sitting in the opera house for a fraction of the price.  To see an opear at the Met, tickets range from $70-$400 but for about $22, you can have a fantastic opera experience, like I did this morning, at the 10:00 A.M. screening of America's most popular opera, "Madame Butterfly."

Composed by the great Giacomo Puccini (Tosca, La Boheme), "Madame Butterfly" tells the tragic love story between a young, Japanese geisha and a U.S. Navy officer.  Taking place in Nagasaki in the early 20th Century, the officer B. F. Pinkerton engages in a simple marriage agreement with Cio-Cio-San, the Madame Butterfly, after he purchases a house that comes with her as his wife.  Pinkerton wooes the 15-year-old Cio-Cio-San, but considers the marriage a fling while to her it is a binding, deep proclamation of love.  Pinkerton leaves for 3-years, but she becomes increasingly in love with him as she cares for their son.   He returns one day with an American wife, a realization that breaks Cio-Cio-San's heart.  She gives her son to be raised by Pinkerton's, and out of shame of being betrayed, she kills herself.

Despite the very melancholic the story, the experience is powerfully moving.  By far the best opera experience I've ever seen, the characters are richly developed and the music is absolutely sweeping.  Think of "Phantom of the Opera" soaring melodies that raise and lower  the dramatic tension.  This production had an American, Cristina Gallardo-Domas, as Cio-Cio-San, who was mezmoring both as a singer and an actress.  The sets were simple but effective while the costumes were vibrant and complex.  The appeal of "Madame Butterfly" is the exoticism of the story, and the production designers did a great job of maximizing the grandness of the Met's stage during  sequences, such as when Pinkerton charms Cio-Cio-San at night.

The HD screening seasons shows each opera only one time, and the next two screenings of the seasons are "La Sonnambula" by Bellini on March 21st and "La Cenerentola" (Cinderella) by Rossini on May 9th.  These screenings sell out weeks in advance, and my friend and I were very lucky to get standby seats for this morning's performance.

I've seen a few live operas such as "La Traviata" in Venice, Italy and "The Marriage of Figaro" at UCLA, but this performance of "Madame Butterfly" was the most spectacular and moving opera experience I've ever had because the music will blow you away. 

http://www.metoperafamily.org/metopera/broadcast/hd_events_next.aspx
Madame Butterfly

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May 24, 2009
Lucky guy you are to be able to see an opera in Venice. We'll go there in september but there won't be any performances at the opera house then. But fortunately we'll be able to see and listen to Tosca at another venue in Venice. And in June I'll be in Paris for work and then I'll spend another opera evening at the opera Bastille to enjoy Tosca once more.
May 24, 2009
Two "Tosca" performances?  Nice.  That opera has actually played an important role in two recent films:  Quantum of Solace and Milk.  I'm glad to see a classic opera getting some pop culture attention.
May 24, 2009
I actually watched Quantum of Solace a couple of weeks ago and wasn't quite impressed but I loved that scene at Bregenz. That finale of the first act was just wonderful. Of course I watched Milk, too, but I missed that Tosca part although I couldn't help to notice all these little opera shares in between.
May 24, 2009
agreed! quantum was a disappointment the action scene set to opera music was a highlight.
 
May 21, 2009
thanks. i signed up. have only seen a handful of opersa, but i love puccini's la boheme. san diego will be doing it in November. i go every time. thabks again
May 24, 2009
nice! I have not seen "La Boheme" but I'd love to hear about it. I did get a chance to watch La Traviata at the La Fenice Opera house in Venice, Italy
 
March 09, 2009
Thanks for this review! I saw this advertised at the theater in the city where I used to live and was tempted to go, but didn't. I thought it might be a nice intro to an opera novice like myself, or to someone (also like myself) who won't be getting to the Met anytime soon.
March 09, 2009
For the opera novice: I highly recommend the soundtrack to Madame Butterfly. You can familiarize yourself with more opera in preparation of the last HD performance "La Cenerentola." :)
 
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About the reviewer
Eric Horwitz ()
Ranked #239
Ciao!     My world in a nutshell: Born in the humble beach town of Ventura, CA I went to UCLA with ambitions to pursue journalism and film. I studied literature and picked up Italian … more
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