The Metorpolitan Opera in HD For a limited time this year you need not live in New York City to be able to watch live performances of the world's greatest operas being performed by one of the world's greatest opera companies.  Live performances of Macbeth and other operas are being beamed into participating theaters all over the country.  The opportunity for music educators that this presents is intriguing to say  the least.

 

{mosgoogle right}The New York Metropolitan Opera has finally made truly great musical performances available to the masses, and without the need of a plane ticket.  Until now, the only way to see a live performance of the Metropolitan Opera was to hop a plane, pay through the nose for a hotel, and then battle the notorious New York City traffic.  Such a trip was worth it to be sure, but now the Met has reinvented itself and has pledged to bring its world class performances to music lovers all over the United States through the wonders of modern technology.

Broadcasting vs. Live Public Performances:

Not too many years ago I remember signing up my class to watch a live performance of the Canadian Brass at the University of Iowa.  The event was being broadcast over the state's Iowa Communications Network, a two way interactive system of classrooms in every county of the state.  The performance was memorable, but in the end the audio and video quality of the link just did not do the performance justice.  A few years later I found myself talking the local band parent's organization into signing up to host a live local performance of the same group.  We sold tickets, set up a massive student performance with over a thousand kids from five neighboring counties, and still almost went bankrupt in the process.  To make a long story short, these events soured my enthusiasm for bringing in such groups to our very rural community.

The Best of Both Worlds? 

When I first heard about the Met's new plan I immediately thought that this could be a great way to enrich our music education classrooms in the future.  Live, high definition performances by word class musicians beamed into a local, easily accessible theater for a very reasonable price.  In the case of the Met, they have already performed Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet (which apparently jumped to number 11 in total box office sales for the date that it aired).  In February the Met plans to perform Mana Lescaut by Puccini.  Later in the year Lo Boheme and Tristan Und Isolde are scheduled to grace the silver screen.  The best part?  Tickets for these local performances cost less than $30 compared to nearly $300 if you go to New York to see it in person.   

Where, When, and How to See These Performances In Your Area:

To find out what theaters in your area are showing the upcoming performances by the Metropolitan Opera check out the Metropolitan Opera's web site and look for a link to the Live In HD series. The next HD theater performance is on February 16th.  In addition to the theatrical performances the Met is also providing some of its season as streaming downloads through the Rhapsody music service.

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