Live opera in A.L. is a great timePublished 10:48am Thursday, December 13, 2012
Albert Lea music lovers are enjoying a wonderful season of live from the Metropolitan Opera HD productions here in our own theater. Grand opera combines music and drama in productions that are often lavishly costumed and elaborately staged. But it’s the glorious singing that is the best feature of opera. As America’s premier opera company, the Met attracts the world’s best singers and presents them in productions of the highest artistic value. This coming Saturday, we will be seeing the classic opera “Aida” in a new Met staging that has received rave reviews.
New technology makes possible the high-quality transmission of performances to screens in remote locations. These high-definition screenings make opera very accessible and are good introductions for those of us who are not opera specialists. Seeing the opera on a theater-sized screen is like having a seat right on the edge of the stage. Seeing the performers close up heightens the emotions of the story. Well-crafted subtitles make the plots understandable. The Met enhances these viewings with intermission interviews of star performers and backstage glimpses of the stagecraft supporting the spectacle. Our local sponsors also add value. On the Friday before a performance, you can learn about the opera in a talk at the Prairie Wind Coffee shop. At the Saturday performances, our theater serves coffee and cookies during intermission.
The Met broadcasts these operas in HD to a worldwide audience of several million. Most of these viewers are in cities larger than ours. Attracting this series to Albert Lea was a real coup. On behalf of the delighted attendees, I extend appreciation to Eileen Nelson Ness, Albert Lea Community Theatre, Albert Lea Civic Music and their cooperating sponsors for bringing world-class opera to us right here at home. For those who have not yet joined the audience, the only thing to say is: “You don’t know what you are missing!”