Met Opera at the Cameo
Usually, a visit to a cinema is for film and a trip to an opera house is for, well, opera. Ripping apart the straitjacket of all of that is a relatively new venture that brings live opera direct from stage to the big screen. The stage is the New York Met, no less, and the cinema is right on Edinburgh’s central doorstep, the Cameo at Tollcross. It is, however, not only the Cameo that people will be flocking to for the Met’s 2007/08 season. The New Yorkers’ experiment of merging high definition film with live performance, a new artform in itself possibly, has enjoyed extremely successful beginnings at other Picturehouse cinemas around the UK, and screenings are now happening across the US and Europe. Altogether, globally, it saved 325,000 people a trip to New York last season, not to mention the saving of money when the cost is £25 top ticket price plus a bus fare.
Last season, there were six operas, while this time there are eight, with Gounod’s Roméo and Juliet being the first. The names attached to the French composer’s reworking of Shakespeare’s greatest love-story are sensational. Placido Domingo is conducting, star soprano is Anna Netrebko, the young Russian from the Kirov Opera, with her lover played by the delicious French tenor, Roberto Alagna. While it may be matinee time in New York, it is evening here, so no worries that it’s all happening at some ridiculous hour of the morning, and according to one enthusiast, Frank Hitchman, ‘It’s almost as good as being there in person.’
Of the other operas coming up, there are several new productions, including Hansel and Gretel on New Year’s Day and, in March, Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes, conducted by Edinburgh born Donald Runnicles, recently announced as BBC SSO Chief Conductor from September 2009. (Carol Main)
Cameo, Edinburgh, Sat 15 Dec