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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » November 29, 2012
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Opera Straight from the Big Apple
November 29, 2012   
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The Metropolitan Opera House in New York is one of the most famous opera houses in the world and the Metropolitan Opera (the Met) is one of the most highly regarded opera companies. Some of the world’s greatest ever singers, conductors, directors and stage designers have been associated with it. Enrico Caruso, Maria Callas and many other luminaries have made their mark here. Metropolitan Opera performances are regarded as phenomenal artistic events from both an operatic and theatrical perspective.

The Metropolitan Opera has been broadcasting its performances in HD video since 2006, when 30,000 viewers in the U.S. tuned in to watch. This season, the company is broadcasting its “The Met: Live in HD” to 1,600 theaters in 54 countries. In this way, the Met is carrying on a tradition that goes back more than 80 years. The company began broadcasting its performances via radio in 1931. The enormous success of these broadcasts has meant that more and more cinemas and theaters have been lining up to show them. The project has now made its way to Japan, Canada and seven European countries, including Poland as of last year.

You can watch live opera transmissions from the Met at the Studio Theater in Warsaw in December. Polish viewers will be able to watch Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera (A Masked Ball) from the “The Met: Live in HD” series on Dec. 8 (in photo). This is one of Verdi’s best loved operas and a classic of more than 150 years standing. The cast includes Marcelo Alvarez, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Sondra Radvanovsky and Stephanie Blythe, with Fabio Luisi conducting and David Alden directing.

On Dec. 15, the Met is broadcasting Aida, Verdi’s most famous opera, directed by Sonja Frisell. Once more, Luisi is conducting.

Verdi was called back to the stage 32 times at the historic Milan premiere of Aida in 1872. The musical demands of this work test the virtuosity of the performers to the limit. But what really made Aida such a smash were the lavish stage sets and decorations that vividly conjured up ancient Egypt. The longstanding popularity of Frisell’s staging is proof positive that Aida will be with us for a long time yet. The cast includes Liudmyla Monastyrska, Roberto Alagna, Olga Borodina, Miklos Sebestyen, Stefan Kocan, and George Gagnidze.
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