Metropolitan Opera Live in HD (also known as The Met: Live in HD) is a series of live opera performances transmitted in high-definition video via satellite from the Metropolitan Opera in New York City to select venues, primarily movie theaters, in the United States and other parts of the world. The first transmission was of a condensed English-language version of Mozart's The Magic Flute on December 30, 2006. Most of the video recordings are later made available for streaming at Met Opera on Demand.
High-definition video is video of higher resolution and quality than standard-definition. While there is no standardized meaning for high-definition, generally any video image with considerably more than 480 vertical lines or 576 vertical lines (Europe) is considered high-definition. 480 scan lines is generally the minimum even though the majority of systems greatly exceed that. Images of standard resolution captured at rates faster than normal, by a high-speed camera may be considered high-definition in some contexts. Some television series shot on high-definition video are made to look as if they have been shot on film, a technique which is often known as filmizing.
The Metropolitan Opera is an opera company based in New York City, resident at the Metropolitan Opera House at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. The company is operated by the non-profit Metropolitan Opera Association, with Peter Gelb as general manager. As of 2018, the company's current music director is Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
A movie theater, cinema, or cinema hall, also known as a picture house or the pictures, is a building that contains an auditorium for viewing films for entertainment. Most, but not all, theaters are commercial operations catering to the general public, who attend by purchasing a ticket. Some movie theaters, however, are operated by non-profit organizations or societies that charge members a membership fee to view films.
To transmit the series via satellite simulcast in the US and Canada, the Met has partnered with Fathom Events. The series is broadcast to AMC Theatres, Cinemark, Cineplex Entertainment, Regal Entertainment Group (Regal Cinemas, United Artists and Edwards), Goodrich, Kerasotes, Marcus and National Amusements movie theaters as well as a series of independent venues such as arts centers and college campuses. Its aims include building a larger audience for the Met and garnering excitement for arts at a local level.
Simulcast is the broadcasting of programs or events across more than one medium, or more than one service on the same medium, at exactly the same time. For example, Absolute Radio is simulcast on both AM and on satellite radio. Likewise, the BBC's Prom concerts were formerly simulcast on both BBC Radio 3 and BBC Television. Another application is the transmission of the original-language soundtrack of movies or TV series over local or Internet radio, with the television broadcast having been dubbed into a local language.
Fathom Events is an entertainment content provider that broadcasts entertainment events in movie theaters throughout the US including Metropolitan Opera Live in HD, the performing arts, major sporting events, and music concerts.
AMC Theatres is an American movie theater chain. Founded in 1920, AMC has the largest share of the American theater market ahead of Regal Cinemas and Cinemark Theatres. The company's headquarters are located in Leawood, Kansas.
The original idea for presenting operas in this way came from the new incoming general manager of the Met, Peter Gelb in late 2006. Exhibiting the Met's performances in digital movie theaters is in line with other audience-expanding efforts by the Met such as radio broadcasts on Sirius Radio, iPod downloads, live streaming video on the Met website, and free opening night screenings in Times Square and at Lincoln Center. The Met is also sponsoring free HD broadcasts into selected New York City public schools.
Peter Gelb is an American arts administrator. Since August 2006, he has been General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.
The iPod is a line of portable media players and multi-purpose pocket computers designed and marketed by Apple Inc. The first version was released on October 23, 2001, about 8 1⁄2 months after the Macintosh version of iTunes was released. As of July 27, 2017, only the iPod Touch remains in production.
Times Square is a major commercial intersection, tourist destination, entertainment center and neighborhood in the Midtown Manhattan section of New York City at the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue. It stretches from West 42nd to West 47th Streets. Brightly adorned with billboards and advertisements, Times Square is sometimes referred to as "The Crossroads of the World", "The Center of the Universe", "the heart of The Great White Way", and the "heart of the world". One of the world's busiest pedestrian areas, it is also the hub of the Broadway Theater District and a major center of the world's entertainment industry. Times Square is one of the world's most visited tourist attractions, drawing an estimated 50 million visitors annually. Approximately 330,000 people pass through Times Square daily, many of them tourists, while over 460,000 pedestrians walk through Times Square on its busiest days.
The simulcasts allow more people to experience the excitement of the Met's high-quality performance offerings. This audience includes current opera fans unable to get to New York City to see the shows in person and potential opera fans looking for an easy, affordable method of checking out a new art form.
Tom Galley, chief operations and technology officer of National CineMedia, describes the experience by saying:
National CineMedia (NCM) is an American cinema advertising company. NCM displays ads to U.S. consumers in movie theaters, online and through mobile technology. NCM presents cinema advertising across a digital in-theater network, consisting of theaters owned by AMC Entertainment Inc., Cinemark Holdings, Inc., Regal Entertainment Group and other regional theater circuits.
This Metropolitan Opera series is a unique opportunity for people to experience world-class opera in their local community, plus the movie theatre environment and affordable ticket price make these events something that the entire family can enjoy. If you’ve never had the pleasure of attending a live opera performance before, this is the perfect opportunity to see why this magical art form has captured audiences’ imaginations for generations.
In the US, the series has also been broadcast in both high definition and regular TV as part of the Public Broadcasting Service's Great Performances series. In addition, selected performances can now be viewed online.
High-definition television (HDTV) is a television system providing an image resolution that is of substantially higher resolution than that of standard-definition television. This can be either analog or digital. HDTV is the current standard video format used in most broadcasts: terrestrial broadcast television, cable television, satellite television, Blu-rays, and streaming video.
Great Performances is a television anthology series dedicated to the performing arts; the banner has been used to televise theatrical performances such as plays, musicals, opera, ballet, concerts, as well as occasional documentaries. It is produced by the PBS member stations WNET in New York City.
The first season included seven theatres in Britain, two in Japan and one in Norway. After its successful launch, several other countries joined for the second season and 100 screens were added, selling an additional 20,000 tickets. [ citation needed ] These included cinemas in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.
2008 saw the network expand even further to include more screens in the countries named above plus other countries such as Australia, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Argentina (Buenos Aires and Mar del Plata),and Poland, as well as the territory of Puerto Rico.
Reaction in the British press has been positive:
...opera is, in fact, managing to find new audiences, all over the world. Down at the Ritzy, my local cinema in Brixton, London, I've been able, since December, to see live broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera in New York...
The author Peter Conrad, praised Gelb's showmanship:
The relays are the brainchild of the Met's new general manager, Peter Gelb, or one of his innumerable brainchildren, part of a campaign both to rejuvenate the Met's audience in New York and to welcome what he calls 'the global opera community' into the fold. When I met Gelb in New York last week, I told him I'd decided that seeing The Barber in Clapham (just south of central London) was actually better than being at the Met. 'Oh no, that's bad,' he groaned. 'We must be doing too good a job.
As of 2011 [update] six Metropolitan Opera employees work full-time on Live in HD. About 40 people work on the technical aspects of each broadcast, with one comparing the scale of the logistics to the preshow coverage of the Emmy or Academy Awards. Host Renée Fleming volunteers her services. No same-day substitution of a major cast member for a Live in HD performance was necessary until January 2010, perhaps because of the appeal of performing for a worldwide audience and the opportunity to appear on the subsequent DVD of the broadcast.
Movie and radio broadcast revenue increased for the Met from about $5 million in 2006, Live in HD's first year, to $22 million in 2008, with Live in HD contributing the bulk of the growth.For the 2009/10 season, the Met spent about $12 million in production and received about half of the $47 million box-office gross. After paying royalties to its cast and crew, the Met earned a $8 million profit. The Met's Live in HD revenue for the 2012/13 season was $34.5 million.
According to a 2008 study commissioned by Opera America, most Live in HD attendees were "moderate and frequent opera goers". About one in five, however, did not attend a live opera performance in the previous two years, with some being completely new to opera and attending because of curiosity about it. The majority claimed to equally enjoy broadcast and live opera, and more than half stated they would "very likely" attend an opera performance at the Met if visiting New York.A 2011 University of British Columbia thesis found that "Live in HD does not at present cannibalize the local live opera audience ... [but t]here is no evidence that [it] generates more live opera attendance or brings new audiences into local opera houses".
A report outlines the economics of the Met's 2013—2014 season:
Last season, 10 operas were transmitted via satellite into at least 2,000 theaters in 66 countries, including more than 800 U.S. theaters. Box office hit $60 million worldwide (average ticket prices were $23 last season), with theater owners splitting sales 50–50 with the Met (insiders say the split is more advantageous to the Met in North America) and Fathom [the online ticket-selling agency] taking a small percentage as well.
Vladica and Davis have utilised Q methodology to analyse audience reactions and judgments of entertainment value with respect to this series, and related cultural events transmitted to cinemas.
Beginning on December 30, 2006, as part of the company's effort to build revenues and attract new audiences, the Met broadcast a series of six performances live via satellite into movie theaters.The series was carried in over 100 movie theaters across North America plus others in Britain, Japan and one in Norway. It included:
In addition, limited repeat showings of the operas were offered in most of the presenting cities. Within the US, digital sound for the performances was provided by Sirius Satellite Radio.
These movie transmissions were successful at the box office as well as having received wide and generally favorable press coverage.The Met reports that 91% of available seats were sold for the HD performances. According to General Manager Peter Gelb, there were 60,000 people in cinemas around the world watching the March 24 transmission of The Barber of Seville. The New York Times reported that 324,000 tickets were sold worldwide for the 2006–07 season, while each simulcast cost $850,000 to $1 million to produce.
Due to the success of the first season, the Metropolitan Opera decided to increase the number of HD broadcasts to movie theaters from six to eight during the 2007–2008 season. Further, the number of available theaters expanded to 330 across the US and additional countries throughout the world.
The first showing on December 15, 2007, Gounod's Roméo et Juliette , was seen on 477 screens and sold an estimated 97,000 tickets. The series continued by featuring seven more of the Met's productions following Roméo et Juliette and ending with La fille du régiment on April 26, 2008.
The Met planned to broadcast to double the number of theaters in the US compared with the previous season, as well as to additional countries. The number of participating venues in the US, which includes movie theatre chains as well as independent theatres and some college campus venues, was 343.While "the scope of the series expands to include more than 700 locations across North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.... The Met has said that it hopes to reach as many as one million audience members with this season's HD transmissions"
The schedule of live broadcasts included:
By the end of the season, 920,000 people—exceeding the total number of people who attended live performances at the Met over the entire season—attended the 8 screenings bringing in a gross of $13.3 million from North America and $5 million from overseas.
The HD season for 2008–2009 included 11 productions, including the Opening Night Gala on September 22, 2008, (broadcast in North America only).
As of February 2009, over 1.1 million tickets to HD broadcasts had been sold.
The 2014–2015 season presented 12 operas in 10 HD transmissions, including (for the first time in the series) two "double-bills" where two short operas were staged together on the same program.John Adams's Death of Klinghoffer was originally planned for an HD transmission but was replaced by Il barbiere di Siviglia due to controversy after the work was accused of being anti-Semitic.
The 2016-2017 season included the presentation of the first opera by a female composer in the series, L'Amour de loin of Kaija Saariaho, which also marked the first opera in the series to feature a female conductor, Susanna Mälkki. The presentation of Der Rosenkavalier marked the final performances in their respective roles by Renée Fleming (the Marschallin) and Elīna Garanča (Octavian).
The Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording has been awarded since 1961. The award was originally titled Best Classical Opera Production. The current title has been used since 1962.
The Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Solo has been awarded since 1959. There have been several minor changes to the name of the award over this time:
Anna Yuryevna Netrebko is a Russian operatic soprano. She holds dual Russian and Austrian citizenships and resides in Vienna, Austria, and in New York City. She is a frequent guest of the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna State Opera, Mariinsky Theatre, and Royal Opera House in London.
Mary Zimmerman is an American theatre and opera director and playwright from Nebraska. She is an ensemble member of the Lookingglass Theatre Company, the Manilow Resident Director at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, Illinois, and also serves as the Jaharis Family Foundation Professor of Performance Studies at Northwestern University.
Fabio Luisi is an Italian conductor. He is general music director of the Zurich Opera, music director of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, and principal conductor of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra. He is scheduled to become music director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in 2020.
Live from the Metropolitan Opera was an American television program that presented performances of complete operas from the Metropolitan Opera in New York City on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) network.
Otto Schenk is an Austrian actor, and theater and opera director.
Elīna Garanča is a Latvian mezzo-soprano. With a musical family background, she began to study singing in her hometown of Riga in 1996 and continued her studies in Vienna and in the United States. By 1999 she had won first Place in a significant competition in Finland and had begun a career in Europe. Worldwide engagements quickly followed her 2003 Salzburg Festival appearances.
Opera News is an American classical music magazine. It has been published since 1936 by the Metropolitan Opera Guild, a non-profit organization located at Lincoln Center which was founded to engender the appreciation of opera and also support the Metropolitan Opera of New York City. Opera News was initially focused primarily on the Met, particularly providing information for listeners of the Saturday afternoon live Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts. Over the years, the magazine has broadened its scope to include the larger American and international opera scenes. Currently published monthly, Opera News offers opera related feature articles; artist interviews; production profiles; musicological pieces; music-business reportage; reviews of performances in the United States and Europe; reviews of recordings, videos, books and audio equipment; and listings of opera performances in the U.S.
The Opera Orchestra of New York specializes in the performance of opera in concert form. It is particularly known for its work in presenting rarely performed repertory. Among the numerous American premieres it has presented are Puccini’s Edgar, Boito’s Nerone, and Smetana’s Libuše.
Dmitri Aleksandrovich Hvorostovsky was a Russian operatic baritone.
Marcello Giordani is an Italian operatic tenor who has sung leading roles in opera houses throughout Europe and the United States. He has had a distinguished association with the New York Metropolitan Opera, where he has sung in over 200 performances since his debut there in 1993.
The Russian Children's Welfare Society is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) organization based in New York City with branches in Moscow and San Francisco. It was founded in 1926 to help Russian children whose families fled to other countries after the onset of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Society has refocused all of its efforts solely on Russia. The RCWS funds scholarship programs, medical procedures, pediatric hospitals, rehabilitation programs, and orphanages throughout Russia.
Angela Meade is an American operatic soprano.
Christian Van Horn is an American operatic bass-baritone and has appeared with many of the world's most prestigious opera companies, including The Metropolitan Opera, Paris Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Bayerische Staatsoper, Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, Canadian Opera Company, Netherlands Opera, San Francisco Opera, Salzburg Festival, Los Angeles Opera, and The Grand Théâtre du Genève. His roles include the title roles in Le nozze di Figaro and Bioto's Mefistofele, the Four Villains in Les Contes d'Hoffmann, Mephistopheles in Faust, Zaccaria in Nabucco, Escamillo in Carmen, Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Banquo in Macbeth, Colline in La Bohème, and Claudio in Aggrippina. Van Horn has also appeared as a concert soloist with the Berlin Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic among others.
Massimo Giordano is an Italian-born operatic tenor who is known for his bel canto repertoire. Giordano was born in Pompei, Italy into an Italian working-class family.
Marina Rebeka is a Latvian opera, song and concert soprano.
Simone Alberghini is an Italian operatic baritone, known especially for his interpretations of belcanto operas of Mozart and Rossini.
Dina Kuznetsova is an American lyric dramatic operatic soprano of Russian descent who has appeared in leading roles on the stages of international opera houses from New York to Sydney. She has focused on Italian and Slavic repertoires. Her signature roles include Tatyana in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, Desdemona in Verdi's Otello, Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly by Puccini, the title role in Dvořák's Rusalka, and Kátya in Kátya Kabanová by Janáček.