I hate to rub it in, but last month my twin and I watched an encore presentation of The Metropolitan Opera’s “Carmen”.
Oh my gosh. The music was spectacular. The costumes were terrific. The acting was incredible. The sets were imaginative.
The experience itself was one of the most incredible few hours I’ve spent in I don’t know how long. I was on a “Carmen” high the rest of the week.
Plus, we got to hear special pre-show and intermission interviews with some of the performers and the conductor. We got to rubberneck and check out the audience before the curtain opened, which is great if you’re a people-watcher, as I am.
Our seats gave us such extreme close-up views that we could see the postcards on the set walls, perspiration on actors’ brows; every nostril flare and every theatrical expression.
And we never left Redding.
Yes, it’s true.
We watched all this from our seats at Movies 10 in Redding: The Metropolitan Opera’s Peabody and Emmy Award-winning series, “The Met: Live in HD.” It was an encore presentation, meaning that it was taped live and then rebroadcast.
It blew my mind that the theater was practically empty for that fantastic encore presentation of “Carmen” – attended by probably no more than two dozen people. I don’t blame the public, however, I do fault Movies 10 and its website for not doing a better job at spreading the word about The Met productions. Case in point, one must go to the Cinemark home page, then click on “Concerts and Special Events” and then click on “2009 – 2010 Live in HD Season.” The only thing missing are bread crumbs to find your way back. Seriously, you have to hunt for it, making the The Met’s opera productions one of the North State’s best-kept cultural secrets, one shared by only the most dedicated opera-lovers.
But I digress.
Hosted by FathomEvents.com, this fourth season of “The Met: Live in HD” offered nine live and nine encore presentations that began in October with “Tosca“, followed by “Aida“, “Turandot“, “Les Contes D’Hoffmann“, “Der RosenKavalier“, “Carmen” and “Simon Boccanegra“.
The series ends in May.
All live performances take place on Saturday mornings, while the encore performances are shown the third Wednesday evening of each month after the respective live opera (which I know sounds confusing, but it’s not really).
Sadly, just a few more Metropolitan Opera performances remain at the two North State theaters: Cinemark Chico at 801 East Avenue in Chico, and Movies 10 at 980 Old Alturas Road in Redding.
Happily, tonight at 6:30 is the encore presentation of “Simon Boccanegra” (from a Feb. 6 live recording). If you’re interested in attending, here’s how The Met website describes “Simon Boccanegra”: Four decades into a legendary Met career, tenor Plácido Domingo makes history singing the title role in Verdi’s gripping political thriller, which is written for a baritone. Adrianne Pieczonka, Marcello Giordani, and James Morris are his co-stars in this moving and tragic story of a father and his lost daughter. James Levine conducts.
I confess that I always wanted to attend a live performance at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. I Just never have, and now that my little sister no longer lives in New York, I probably never will.
But that’s OK, after watching “Carmen” at “The Met: Live in HD”, I am completely content with my Redding experience. I drove there in just a few minutes, I wore jeans and a sweater, I ate popcorn, and during intermission I could actually visit the ladies’ room without missing a thing.
Plus, at $20 a ticket – the price was an absolute bargain. Consider how much I saved by watching “The Met: Live in HD” in Redding: about $1,200, if you add the round-trip flight to New York and the cost to eat there, sleep there and ride cabs there. Oh, and I’d still need a ticket to the Metropolitan Opera’s Hamlet, which runs from $80 to $175 for the dress circle.
I do wish Prime 11 Cinemas featured “The Met: Live in HD”, because Prime 11 is my favorite North State movie theater. (Maybe someday it will. We can hope.) But the good news is that the beautifully restored Cascade Theatre offers the San Francisco Grand Opera HD Cinema Series.
In fact, the Cascade will present La Rondine on March 14. Splendid!
I do regret that I didn’t learn of these live in HD opera performances in Redding sooner, then I could have told you sooner, and you could have gone, too.
Better late than you know what.
Maybe I’ll see you at The Met, too.
Always wanted to say that.
Independent online journalist Doni Greenberg founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Prior to 2007 Greenberg was an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Northern California in the tiny town of Igo.