September 7, 2006

ANYONE KNOW HOW TO TIE ONE OF THESE THINGS?:

Metropolitan Opera to hit movie theaters (Christopher Reynolds, 9/07/06, Los Angeles Times)

Psst. Want some Raisinettes with that Rossini?

New York's Metropolitan Opera says it will broadcast six of this season's Saturday matinee performances live to "hundreds" of movie theaters in the United States, Canada and Europe, a bid to build audiences made possible by the growing number of digitally equipped movie theaters.

The performances, beamed via satellite and projected on high-definition systems, will begin at a not very operatic hour — 10:30 a.m. Pacific time — with ticket prices likely to run $18 each.

Seats at Lincoln Center cost up to $320. And at a theater near you, black tie is optional.

"It's an attempt to familiarize more people with opera, and every opera company in the country will benefit," Met spokesman Peter Clark said.


Met to Broadcast Live Operas Into Movie Theaters (DANIEL J. WAKIN, 9/06/06, NY Times)
The broadcasts are part of a strategy by the Met’s new general manager, Peter Gelb, to widen the house’s appeal by branching out into new media. The house also said today that it was opening up its vast archive of historic radio broadcast performances for streaming and downloading.

“I think what I’m doing is exactly what the Met engaged me to do, which is build bridges to a broader public,” Mr. Gelb said. “The thrust of our plan is to make the Met more available. This is not about dumbing down the Met, it’s just making it accessible.”

The Met was able to move forward with the plan after reaching agreements with its unions over fees. Opera broadcasts have already dwindled because of the high costs to produce them, and provisions do not even exist for digital delivery, like Internet streaming and downloading.

Mr. Gelb said that the unions agreed, essentially, to end the arrangement of receiving high up-front fees and payments for later uses of a broadcast, and instead will permit unlimited exploitation by the Met of broadcasts in exchange for sharing future revenues.

“We are in a position of really controlling our content,” Mr. Gelb said. The next potential steps will be to offer performances on satellite, on-demand cable, DVD and CD. But he added that the potential for these new markets was unclear.


Posted by Orrin Judd at September 7, 2006 7:30 AM
Comments

Very cool.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at September 7, 2006 10:17 AM

As for the unions, it's amazing these folks are finally waking up. There audience is dying off, and th prevention of broadcasts has done nothing to attract the younger generation. Here in Chicago we haven't had Lyric Opera opening night broadcasts, as used to be the norm, in years b/c of these fools.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at September 7, 2006 10:25 AM

It will be interesting to see what the locations are for the opera videocasts. Mark Cubin has been busy in the past couple of years buying up many of the urban independent art house theaters that would seem to be the most likely venues, while to attract suburbanites, the Met will have to work out agreements with the big movie theater chains that dominate in those areas and are focused on squeezing the most $$$ out of every showing (wonder how the opera-goers will hanker to the performance being proceeded by a bunch of NBC or WTBS promos or the Coca-Cola polar bears?).

Posted by: John at September 7, 2006 10:59 AM

$18 seems high; Handing a date tickets to such a broadcast would be marginally cooler than a movie ticket. Like, $1 better.

Posted by: Mike Beversluis at September 7, 2006 12:24 PM

About 10 years ago, right before I left Houston, their opera company put up a "jumbotron" in front of the performance hall. They encouraged people to bring lawn chairs and see a performance for free. Was definitely a fun time.

Posted by: ken at September 7, 2006 1:21 PM
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