Metropolitan Opera Launches Second Season of High-Definition Simulcasts with Roméo et Juliette

By Matthew Westphal
December 15, 2007

This afternoon, the Metropolitan Opera kicks off the second season of its wildly successful live high-definition simulcasts into movie theaters. The opening presentation of the Met's 2007-08 "Live in HD" series is Gounod's Roméo et Juliette, starring Roberto Alagna and Anna Netrebko and conducted by Plácido Domingo. The live feed begins at 1 p.m. U.S. Eastern time.

Last year's inaugural series of "Metropolitan Opera — Live in HD" was successful far beyond what most observers had anticipated. So the program has been considerably expanded: there will be eight operas (up from six) included in the 2007-08 series, and they will be seen in roughly three times as many venues in North America as last season. Other countries with participating theaters include Australia, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Puerto Rico, Sweden and the U.K.

Many of the participating cinemas will offer weeknight encore presentations of the operas in addition to the live transmissions.

Earlier this week the Met revealed that the New York City public school system is participating in this season's simulcasts, most of which will be shown at one designated school in each of the city's five boroughs.

Within 30 days of each live transmission, the video feed of the opera will be available on demand as pay-per-view television via iN DEMAND Networks. As with last season, PBS will televise all eight Met broadcasts subsequent to their theatrical showings, and EMI Classics will release five of this season's simulcasts on DVD.

In the U.S., tickets are $22 for adults, $20 for seniors, and $15 for children. (At many of the venues, tickets sell out ahead of time, so order early.) More information, including theater locations and links for purchasing tickets, is available at www.metopera.org/hdlive.

The schedule for the rest of this season's "Met in HD" presentations includes:

  • January 1: Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel, starring Christine Schäfer and Alice Coote (with tenor Philip Langridge as the Witch) in a new English-language production by Richard Jones conducted by Vladimir Jurowski.

  • January 12: Verdi's Macbeth, in a new production by Adrian Noble starring Lado Ataneli and Maria Guleghina, with company music director James Levine on the podium.

  • February 16: Puccini's Manon Lescaut, starring Karita Mattila and Marcello Giordani and conducted by Levine.

  • March 15: Britten's Peter Grimes, starring Anthony Dean Griffey and Patricia Racette in a new production directed by John Doyle and conducted by Donald Runnicles.

  • March 22: Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, starring Deborah Voigt and Ben Heppner with Levine conducting.

  • April 5: Puccini's La Bohème, with Angela Gheorghiu and Ramón Vargas starring in the Franco Zeffirelli production, conducted by Nicola Luisotti.

  • April 26: Donizetti's La Fille du régiment, starring Natalie Dessay and Juan Diego Flórez in a new production directed by Laurent Pelly and conducted by Marco Armiliato.