Following a four-year and by now established tradition, an exceptional choice of productions from the forthcoming Met season is available for the UK audience. Thanks to the partnership between the Metropolitan Opera and Picturehouse, the Emmy Award-winning series The Met: Live in HD will be transmitted live from the Lincoln Center to Picturehouse cinemas across the country.
The 2009-10 Met operas presented to the British audience include a selection from new productions and canonical stagings. Puccini's Tosca opens the Picturehouse season on 10 October 2009, in a new production featuring Karita Mattila in the title role and Marcelo Álvarez as Cavaradossi; the orchestra will be led by Met Music Director James Levine.
Puccini returns again on 7 November with Turandot: Andris Nelsons will conduct Maria Guleghina in the title role and Marina Poplavskaya as Liú in the famous Zeffirelli staging.
Together with Puccini, Verdi is one of the main composers of the Met season. In fact, on 24 October an exceptional Aida with Violeta Urmana and Dolora Zajick will be performed, under the baton of Daniele Gatti; and on 6 February, Simon Boccanegra will feature Adrianne Pieczonka as Amelia, Marcello Giordani as Gabriele Adorno, and Plácido Domingo. In this performance, for the first time Domingo will take on a baritone role as Simon Boccanegra.
Other remarkable productions are available to the British cinema-goers. On 19 December Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazón, conducted by James Levine, will be the protagonists of Offenbach's Les contes d'Hoffman, in a production by Bartlett Sher staged at the Met for the first time. In addition, Renée Fleming will take on the role of the Marschallin in Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier (9 January) and the title role in Rossini's Armida (1 May). The former opera will see Levine conducting, while in the latter Riccardo Frizza will lead the Met musicians.
To complete the Picturehouse season, two other important productions will be broadcast. The first is Bizet's Carmen, transmitted on 16 January. In this production by Richard Eyre, soprano Angela Gheorghiu will propose her interpretation of the Spanish heroine, usually sung by a mezzo. Barbara Frittoli as Micaela and Roberto Alagna as Don José complete this outstanding cast. The other remarkable production is Thomas' Hamlet, featuring Natalie Dessay as Ophélie and Simon Keenlyside in the title role. This performance will be broadcast on March 27.
The Picturehouse operatic offering is definitely the best way in the UK to enjoy important productions from one of the most prestigious opera houses in the world. The cinematic quality and the technological fineness of the experience contribute to make each broadcast a unique event: as once Peter Conrad of The Observer noticed, attending an opera broadcast is 'like having not just the best seat at the Met but all the best seats simultaneously'. We're lucky to have the Picturehouse providing the audience with such an extraordinary opportunity.
Photo: Karita Mattila
It is possible to attend these operas in several screens across the country; a list of participating cinemas can be found here.
Tickets will be available from the end of April. Precise sale dates have not been released yet, but the best way to be sure not to miss any event is to register for the local Picturehouse email newsletter at www.picturehouses.co.uk/email . In addition, Picturehouse Members will have the advantage of priority booking.
For more information about Membership and the Picturehouse events, visit www.picturehouse.co.uk or contact the Box Office on 0871 704 2068.
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