Live broadcasts spread joy of theater to international audiences

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Alison Trautmann, Editor-in-Chief

The Metropolitan Opera kicked off its sixth season of live opera broadcasts with a “Live in HD” broadcast of “Anna Bolena” last month. The production was seen in more than 1,600 theaters across 54 countries, according to the Met’s website.

According to a press release from the Met, this production is the premier for “Anna Bolena” at the Met. It is also the first time the Met’s productions will be seen in countries such as Russia, Israel and China.

This new method of experiencing live theatre makes it easier for a wider number of people to experience fine productions. Theaters such as Shakespeare’s Globe and the National Theatre in London both have live transmission programs that help expand the experience of their productions to different audiences that might not be able to travel easily to the theatre.

Far from being a simple broadcast with a camera pointed at the stage, the Met broadcasts include behind the scenes interviews with cast members and enable the audience to see behind the curtain during intermission.

A ticket to the recent Met broadcast of “Don Giovanni” in a movie theater cost approximately $15 for students and $25 for adults. Yet, even at nearly double what movie-goers would currently pay for a ticket to see the latest flick, these live transmissions are more than worth the price. The cheapest tickets at the Met in New York City go for between $30 and $50, not including travel expenses. Seeing the opera in a live broadcast also gives patrons the ability to have the best seat in the house for a cheaper price with camera angles that allow audiences to see detailed costumes, as well as magnificent scenery. Being able to experience live productions in a movie theater will certainly revolutionize how people view stage theaters and will enable more people to see unique productions.

Met productions to experience on the silver screen:

“Satyagraha” (Nov. 19) – Better known for composing the soundtracks to The Illusionist and The Hours, Philip Glass’s opera, “Satyagraha” is based on Gandhi’s life story. Far from a traditional biography, the story is told through meditations on different periods of Gandhi’s life and incorporates a movement ensemble that uses different materials such as newspaper in order to create set pieces.

“Götterdämmerung” (Feb. 11) – Think you’re up for a marathon? Was The Lord of the Rings not long enough for you? Try “Götterdämmerung,” the last in Wagner’s Ring Cycle. Dramatic arias, and a rousing score by Wagner make this opera a “must see.”

“Faust” (Dec. 10) – Trading your soul with the devil for youth and a beautiful woman sound fun? Then catch this new production of Faust. Includes damnation and all that jazz for no extra cost.