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Reviews

08 Mar 2017

Opera Across the Waves

This Sunday the Metropolitan Opera will feature as part of the BBC Radio 3 documentary, Opera Across the Waves, in which critic and academic Flora Willson explores how opera is engaging new audiences. The 45-minute programme explores the roots of global opera broadcasting and how in particular, New York’s Metropolitan Opera became one of the most iconic and powerful producers of opera.

Opera Across The Waves will trace the roots of today’s phenomenon of opera in cinemas to the years 1890-1930, when New York emerged as a global operatic centre. It will show how the Met took the initiative and used the new developments in transatlantic travel, the recording industry and radio broadcasting, before going on to consider how - by embracing the potential of new technologies - audiences are able to experience this extraordinary and overwhelming art form in their own homes, on the move and at the local cinemas. As explored in the feature, the Met was the first arts institution to take advantage of the development in satellites, making it possible to broadcast opera live around the world and spawning a whole new industry of ‘event’ cinema.

The programme will feature contributions from Peter Gelb (General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera), Kasper Holten (outgoing Director of Opera at the Royal Opera House), Mark Schubin (Engineer-in-Charge at the Metropolitan Opera), Barrie Kosky (opera director), Stuart Skelton (tenor), Gundula Kreuzer (musicologist, Yale) and Ben Walton (musicologist, Cambridge).

Opera Across the Waves will air a matter of weeks before The Met celebrates the 50th anniversary of its move to the Lincoln Center. Opening its doors for the first time with the world premiere of Samuel Barber’s Antony and Cleopatra, starring Leontyne Price and Justino Díaz, The New York Times declared the opening of the new opera house a “crescendo of splendor” and a new era of theatrical possibility was born.

On 7 May 2017, the fully-staged Gala that celebrates the occasion will pay tribute to the company’s storied past and look ahead to the future, with some artists previewing roles they will perform in upcoming Met seasons. The Gala will include performances from many of the company’s most prominent singers including Piotr Beczała, Ben Bliss, Stephanie Blythe, Joseph Calleja, Javier Camarena, Dwayne Croft, Diana Damrau, David Daniels, Joyce DiDonato, Plácido Domingo, Yusif Eyvazov, Michael Fabiano, Renée Fleming, Juan Diego Flórez, Ferruccio Furlanetto, Elīna Garanča, Susan Graham, Vittorio Grigolo, Christopher Job, Mariusz Kwiecien, Isabel Leonard, Željko Lučić, Angela Meade, Latonia Moore, James Morris, Anna Netrebko, Kristine Opolais, Eric Owens, René Pape, Matthew Polenzani, Rolando Villazón, Michael Volle, Yunpeng Wang, Pretty Yende, Sonya Yoncheva and Dolora Zajick.

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