February 16, 2009

Met reaches out to U.S. public schools

New York's Metropolitan Opera says it is making available free live opera broadcasts to public schools throughout the United States.

Created to bring opera to a wider audience, The Met: HD Live in Schools program is being introduced to 18 school districts in 13 states, the company said.

The program -- in which students, parents and educators experience live Met performances transmitted for free at participating movie theaters -- began Jan. 10 with Puccini's La Rondine, and was followed Feb. 7 by Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor. Upcoming screenings will include Puccini's Madama Butterfly March 7 and Rossini's La Cenerentola May 9.

Through a network of participating movie theaters, free tickets are distributed to school districts for the HD broadcasts of the live opera performances.

The Met said it launched the program last season in partnership with the New York City Department of Education and the Metropolitan Opera Guild, incorporating live opera into lessons in New York City classrooms. The program, which will be extended to approximately 180 schools nationwide, is designed to immerse students fully in the opera experience and integrate it into the classroom.

The program has already greatly benefited several school communities by bringing opera to students and families who may not otherwise experience it, New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein said in a statement. The HD events at five of our high schools this fall and spring also provide a unique opportunity for our students to learn about music, theater, production, running a box office, and theater management.