Successful as these HD broadcasts are, they raise some questions. Will newcomers to the form who attend these screenings be inspired to go to the opera house and hear the real thing, that is, to hear wondrous operatic voices in a natural acoustic? After experiencing “Hansel and Gretel” so intimately that you could see Ms. Coote’s teeth coated with rich chocolate fudge cake, will seeing the same production from the Family Circle at the Met just make everything seem too flat and far away?

I think Tommasini asks a valid question.

While at Hansel and Gretel I noticed how we could even see Gretel’s fillings at one point, and seeing the mother spit out food was even a little too much for me when seen close up. There were things I loved about seeing opera on the big screen, and things I felt were not quite as good as being there. I wonder if they’ll ever do a study to see how many movie goers transfer into opera goers.

I know I won’t become a Metropolitan Opera subscriber. Flying to NYC to see operas isn’t going to happen any time soon.

4 Comments

  1. I think more than the experience of movie vs. opera there is the cost. movie tickets, pricey though they may be, are less than tickets to the Metropolitan opera! people will have to be either very rich or so completely mad about opera that they’re willing to save their pennies/go without food and clothes in order to become regular (or even occasional) opera goers.

  2. I know it’s quite expensive, Emily, but there are people who go quite frequently who aren’t what I’d call rich. (I was looking at some blogs and was quite astounded to see some folks list the number of operas or musicals or whatever they went to and it came to nearly 100 this past year. Wow!) Some people purchase the last minute tickets which can be cheaper, standing room, or student/senior citizen tickets. (The company I work for offers $10 tickets to students an hour before curtain … a very cool deal … and they can be excellent seats too!) And of course some folks just put that as their priority, rather than, say, cable tv or something. Having now gone to SF Opera these past few months I plan on continuing … just gotta budget for it, I guess.

    But yes, the cost can be prohibitive for some. The flights to NYC would be just a wee bit prohibitive for me, eh? ;-)

    I do hope some folks try out live opera … while I loved the movie theatre experience, it still isn’t quite the same, as someone else is telling you what to look at via the camera. And there’s something about the excitement of an audience at the hall that isn’t quite like the excitement of the audience in the movie theatre.

    (Not to say I won’t go back to the movie theatre, because I most certainly will!)

  3. that’s good to know… where I am there are $10 student deals for symphony tickets, which can be excellent seats, but the cheapest opera tickets are $29 rush tickets and can be pretty bad seats. worth it occasionally for me, but for a brand new enthusiast might be a bit daunting. and yeah, flights to NYC are a bit out of my range too : )

  4. What always surprised me is that people who will tell me that opera is too expensive will go to a ball game or a rock concert. Both are equally expensive around here! I just have a feeling that, for the most part, we do what we really yearn to do. (Well, except when one is a student and can’t afford most anything because of the lack of money AND time!)