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I finally got around to the Met-at-the-movies experience--twice in the last month--and was immediately hooked. In an experiment begun on a smaller scale last year, the Metropolitan Opera's transmitting live HDTV broadcasts of eleven productions to movie theaters around the world, including Evanston's Century 12, where I saw Hector Berlioz's La Damnation de Faust last Saturday and John Adams's Dr. Atomic two weeks earlier.
It's not like being at the Met, but it's not like any small-screen opera broadcast either. You plunk down $24 for a ticket (preferably in advance: last week's show was a sell out), fight off the cane-and-walker contingent for a seat, and settle in with popcorn and Twizzlers for excellent sound and a more dynamic view than you'd get at the opera house, even in the $200 seats. You are, of course, at the mercy of the camera--whether pointing up the diva's nose or at some corner of the set--but most of time that's much better than a stationary point of view. And when the camera meanders backstage during intermission, it's fascinating. The only bone I have to pick is with the darkness of the projected image. Both shows played out in a soporific twilight that left me thinking HD has something to learn from Technicolor. I'm sure they're working on that. Next up: Jules Massenet's Thais, at noon, December 20. Info here.