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April, 2007 - Nr. 4


The Editor
Return of Spring
Hoffnung im Frühling
Der Osterspaziergang
Let Us Be Lovers
Paul Bernhard Berghorn
An Austrian Delight
K-W & Beyond
Musings of a "Schulleiter"
The Club
Herwig Wandschneider
50th Treaties of Rome
Dick reports...
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
Alicier Arts Concert
The Merry Widow
Mooredale Concert Season Concludes
CanStage Presents
Orchestra Toronto
Backstage Toronto 2007
Kristine Bogyo
Living Arts Centre
Deborah Voigt, soprano
Combat Climate Change
Glass Sky Bridge

KW and Beyond

  by Irena Syrokomla

Irena SyrokomlaLive on screen directly from the Met, it’s the opera!

Since January of this year, a new opportunity exists to see opera in its highest quality in main Canadian cities – transmitted live directly from the Metropolitan Opera in New York to the Cineplex screens of your local movie theatres.

It is not the first time the Met is trying to bring such high-class events to the general public. In 1952 the Met transmitted Bizet’s Carmen live via closed-circuit television into 31 theatres in the United States. The idea failed at that time, most likely because of the poor quality of the transmission. Since then transmitting opera performances on television has grown in popularity; however the phenomenal experience of watching live opera on the big screen is new. And the quality of the transmission is beyond words.

The Cineplex had to invest in superb sound systems and hopefully will be utilizing these in future to show more operas. The cameras are arranged in the Met so as not to interfere with the live audience, are technically capable of close-ups and focusing on the individual facial expressions of the singers. The opera as an art form has come a long way since my childhood days when the singers are supposed just to stand there and sing, the ballet dancers just to dance in the background and the audience to imagine it all together and enjoy the music. Now, the singers are younger and their acting is of high quality, the supporting parts are much more developed, the stage designs and costumes more innovative and engaging. And the music of classic operas as beautiful and memorable as ever. What is more – there are new operas being composed and produced, how could I ever believe that what existed in the 50’s or 60,s was final and complete!

And now we hear the good news about live transmissions of the great operas available in the Cineplex movie theatres across Canada and the US. The first transmission took place on January 20 th , - it was The Magic Flute and the tickets were sold to the last seat both in Toronto and in Waterloo. The audience – some of them regular classic music lovers, some "taking a chance" at a new experience, some coming with children for the sake of education – was absolutely won over. On February 24th it was Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin and again there were no tickets left. The music is so memorable, the arias appealing to your heart. Renee Fleming (soprano) sung the part of Tatiana, Dmitri Hvorostovsky (tenor) as Onegin. On March 10th – something new, a modern opera composed by Tan Dun based on Chinese history of The First Emperor. The title role was sung by Placido Domingo, and to my amazement although sung in English (with English sur-titles) the singers somehow had an accent! The instruments used were different, the music and even style of acting very oriental. It was different and it was very much worth seeing. For March 24th it is Barber of Seville – and when I was buying tickets way back in February there were only a few left. April 7th will be a repeat of Eugene Onegin and on April 28th – Puccini’s Il Trittico.

Hopefully there will be more in future and the general public will be able to experience and enjoy such performances. The technology is absolutely amazing: I heard opinions that it was better than attending a live performance, the close-ups of the singers are great, there are additional interviews with the actors or directors to see, the footage from behind the scene or from the time of the rehearsals. The shows are scheduled for 1:30 pm on Saturday and last about 3 to 4 hours with an intermission. Who would expect something so spectacular and of such quality available right here in your local movie theatre!


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