Classical Cafe:

Support Your Local Opera Company

It's almost impossible to describe to those who haven't seen one of the
Metropolitan Opera live broadcasts in Hi-Def exactly what the experience is like.  The sharp motion picture-size images (with subtitles) and motion picture quality sound are amazing.  The Met uses a multitude of cameras and camera angles that offer points of view that draw you in and practically involve you in the action of the opera--in some shots, the viewer is virtually onstage with the performers.

Another notable feature of the broadcasts are the backstage intermission features.  Even if you aren't a theatre geek, watching the often mammoth set changes as a hundred stagehands scurry about, is quite jaw dropping, and a bit awe-inspiring.  The HD backstage look is a warts-and-all view--performers as well as stagehands have been known to utter descriptive phrases in the heat of the moment.  In a recent broadcast of Lucia di Lammermoor, a crank slipped and a stagehand was heard to offer a colorful exclamation of surprise.

The live broadcasts coincide with selected Saturday afternoon matinee performances that have been broadcast on FM radio for many years.  In Knoxville, they can be found at the Regal Cinemas West Town Theatres at West Town Mall.

However, the Met is quick to point out that, despite the quality of the broadcast, there is nothing like seeing and hearing an opera live in a theatre.  And more often that not, that means catching a performance in your own hometown.  Knoxville is fortunate, in this time of  struggling fortunes of many companies, to have an excellent opera company that has, so far, weathered the storm.  Currently on the bill for Knoxville Opera is this weekend's production of Verdi's Rigoletto, downtown at the Tennessee Theatre.  Please, support your local opera company.

Comments » 1

  • February 20, 2009
  • 3:33 PM
Matthew Everett writes:

i've seen a couple of the HD simulcasts. they are great, but those huge shots of the met theater during the intermissions and overtures do bring home just how monumental that place is, and what it must be like to see a production there.

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About This Blog

Alan Sherrod serves up a big plate of nourishing commentary on the Knoxville classical music and fine arts scene.