By Kate Skinner
“Opera is a unique form,” says Jane Van Valkenburg. “It combines singing, great music, and drama. It has got it all.” Valkenburg, director of music ministries at First Presbyterian Church in Bryan, says classical music and a love of the performing arts are reasons enough to experience opera, especially for the first time.
To see a live opera performance, music lovers can expect a fairly large time commitment and travel expenses on top of ticket prices. Alternatively, The Metropolitan Opera offers the same experience from the convenience of local movie theaters through The Met Live in HD. As a participating location, the Cinemark Theatre in College Station brings this experience to the Brazos Valley.
Founded in 1883, the Met was designed as a theatre to serve the wealthy, bringing in only the most prominent artists to perform. While the Met still is home to some of the best talent in the industry, it is no longer only for the wealthy patron. The live-streaming of the opera performance is designed to save both time and money, with “productions chosen to represent a variety of styles and the full range of the Met repertoire and artists…a perfect, low-risk way to introduce a reluctant opera goer to the art form,” according to the Met website (http://www.metoperafamily.org).
Van Valkenburg explains the live streaming is her preferred method of enjoying opera. “It’s so close up, something you can’t get in a live performance,” she says. “Watching [The Met Live in HD] gives you a unique immersion experience.” For new operagoers, Van Valkenburg recommends Puccini’s “La Bohème,” the story of love and poverty that inspired the popular musical Rent.
The eighth season of The Met Live is currently underway. Live performances are shown locally at 11:55 a.m. on Saturdays, with an encore shown at 6:30 p.m. on the following Wednesday. The next performance, Borodin’s “Prince Igor,” which follows the inner turmoil felt by the Russian Prince as a result of his defeat by the Polovtsians and subsequent separation from his wife, will be performed on Match 1 with an encore performance on March 5.
The Met Live at Cinemark Theater
Borodin’s “Prince Igor” live March 1, encore March 5
Massenet’s “Werther” live March 15, encore March 19
Puccini’s “La Bohème” live April 5, encore April 9
Mozart’s “Così fan tutte” live April 26, encore April 30
Rossini’s “La Cenerentola” live May 10, encore May 14
Visit metoperafamily.org for more information. Visit www.fathomevents.com to purchase tickets. Live events are $22; encore showings are $20.