August 18, 2008

Get Met Opera Close to Home ; Production Simulcast to Local Movie Theaters

By David Belcher For the Journal

Nudity, nuclear annihilation, Satan and insanity -- just another day in the world of opera at your local movie theater.

The Metropolitan Opera's hugely successful live simulcast program continues nationwide in September, and tickets go on sale for screenings at two New Mexico theaters Aug. 22 for 11 productions from the company's upcoming 2008-09 season. The opening night gala (featuring Renee Fleming and others performing the second act of "La Traviata," the third act of "Manon," and the final scene of "Capriccio") kicks off the season of simulcasts on Monday, Sept. 22, and Rossini's "La Cenerentola" ends the season on May 9.

The United Artists Cottonwood 16 in Albuquerque and the Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe, which is presenting the simulcasts in conjunction with the Santa Fe Opera, are the two host theaters in New Mexico. Once again, the simulcasts' popularity prompted the Met to expand the number of productions from eight to 11.

Santa Fe Opera fans will recognize several singers in the Met's lineup of eight simulcasts. Most notably is Natalie Dessay, who will sing the title role of "La Sonnambula" on March 21. She sang the same role to great acclaim in 2004 at the Santa Fe Opera, where she will return next summer to sing her first "La Traviata." In the Met's new production of "La Sonnambula" she will be paired -- as she was last season in "La Fille du Regiment" -- with Juan Diego Florez, one of the opera world's most soughtafter tenors.

Several others singers from the Met's simulcasts will be familiar to Santa Fe Opera fans. Gerald Finley, who will play Robert Oppenheimer in John Adams' modern opera "Dr. Atomic," sang in "L'amour de Loin" at the Santa Fe Opera in 2002, and Stephanie Blythe, who has a home in Santa Fe and sang in "L'italiana in Algeri" in 2004, sings the trouser role of Orfeo in Gluck's "Orfeo ed Euridice." And New Mexico resident Susan Graham sings in Berlioz's "The Damnation of Faust," the first Met performance since 1907 of the rarely performed opera.

Other productions in this season's simulcast lineup: "Salome," with soprano Karita Mattila returning to the title role with a brief scene of full frontal nudity (this production was a massive hit several seasons back for the Met); "Thais" starring Renee Fleming and Thomas Hampson in Massenet's melodramatic soap opera; "La Rondine," Puccini's jewel of an opera, starring Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna; "Lucia di Lammermoor," a return of the Met's production from last season, starring international superstar Anna Netrebko; "Madama Butterfly," the popular production imported from the English National Opera and directed by the late Anthony Minghella; and "La Cenerentola," the Rossini opera about Cinderella in a sort of Dr. Seuss-looking production.

More information is available at www. metopera/broadcast/hd_ events.aspx.

If you go

Tickets go on sale Aug. 22 for all of the Metropolitan Opera's live simulcasts at two New Mexico movie theaters. (A priority booking period began Aug. 8 for those who donate $125 to the Metropolitan Opera. Visit www.metoperafamily. org/metopera/ broadcast/ hd_events_next.aspx for more information). Tickets ($22 for adults, $20 for seniors, and $18 for children age 11 and under) are available at the United Artists Cottonwood 16 box office or online at More information on the entire season is available at details.aspx?seriesidb6. Tickets at the Lensic Performing Arts Center, 211 W. San Francisco St., in Santa Fe, are $22 for adults and $15 for children age 17 and younger, as well as students, and are available at the box office, by phone at (505) 988-1234, or online at www.ticketssantafe. org. All seats are reserved, and all simulcasts include on-screen English subtitles. All times listed are local, which is two hours behind the live broadcasts from New York City. The opening night gala is prerecorded that same evening and shown at 7 p.m. MDT.


Opening night gala, Sept. 22, 7 p.m. "Salome," by Richard Strauss, Oct. 11, 11 a.m. "Doctor Atomic," by John Adams, Nov. 8, 11 a.m.

"The Damnation of Faust,"

by Hector Berlioz, Nov. 22, 11 a.m.

"Thais," by Jules Massenet, Dec. 20, 10 a.m.

"La Rondine," by Giacomo Puccini, Jan. 10, 11 a.m. "Orfeo ed Euridice," by Christoph Willibald Gluck, Jan. 24, 11 a.m.

"Lucia de Lammermoor," by Gaetano Donizetti, Feb. 7, 11 a.m.

"Madama Butterfly," by Giacomo Puccini, March 7, 11 a.m.

"La Sonnambula," by Vincenzo Bellini, March 21, 11 a.m.

"La Cenerentola," by Gioachino Rossini, May 9, 10:30 a.m.

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