Met @ the Movies! What an Experience! You Gotta Go!
By Ruth Phinney ~ Posted Tue, 09/23/2008 - 11:41am
For two years I have been singing the praises of the Metropolitan Opera's LIVE HD broadcasts at local movie theaters (Met @ the Movies) based upon the input of folks who had attended. Then, last night I had my first chance to experience it at Tinseltown Theater on Buffalo Road. WOW!! Everything they said is true, and so much more.
Last night was special, as it was the Met's Opening Night Gala with Rochester-gal Renée Fleming starring in three of her leading roles. As if that wasn't special enough, the Met had blocked off Times Square and set up masses of chairs so that hundreds (if not thousands) of New York City average folks were able to sit down and watch the Gala on the giant jumbo screens around Times Square. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/24/arts/music/24gala.html?ref=nyregion
Just like Met @ the Movies, the Metropolitan Opera is reaching out to average folks of all ages, races and interests, who may never attend the opera, and taking the opera to them!! And what a success it was! I was excited to meet a mom and her daughter, high school senior, who is studying voice and so very excited to be at the movie theater last night.
Our in-theater broadcast began with interviews with some of the folks that make the Met possible - the wig makers, wardrobe attendants - and we saw how the Swarovski chandeliers, for which the Met is so famous, were taken down and cleaned. Check them out at Metoperafamily.org. It reminded me of the recent lowering and cleaning of the Eastman Theater chandelier. What a thrill!
During the intermission between each of the three opera acts, theater goers are treated to a birds-eye view of what goes on behind the scenes. We see all the stage hands, electricians, carpenters etc. moving massive sets, raising and lowering scenery, and we even hear the banter of the stage managers and directors. As I sat in my seat in aw, I heard a lady in my row say to her companion, "this is the best part of it all!" That and the fact that as the actors leave stage, there is a camera right there. We saw Renée exit the stage, and, with the help of her dressing assistant who carried the excessive fabric of her gown, go all the way through the back halls to her dressing room, while talking about the performance and what was coming up next. You're even backstage at the end of each performance as actors return to the front of the curtain for their curtain calls.
So, from the tuning of the orchestra before the performance, to the final bows, Met @ the Movies is not to be missed. For a complete schedule of this year's movie theater presentations, go to metoperafamily.org.