With today’s prices spiraling faster than an NFL quarterback’s forward pass, no one can afford to fumble the chance to haul in a 93 percent discount. That’s the amount I saved this past year on my entertainment dollar. And now that the opera season is over, I urge you to plan to do the same. Midsummer is when tickets go on sale for next season’s The Met: Live in HD series. It will arrive faster than you might think.
For $22, I promise you’ll see more from a reserved seat in your local movie theatre than I ever saw from my seat in Lincoln Center. Camped in the same fourth-row location, year in, year out for 20 vibrant seasons, I thrilled to five breathtaking, live performances. In the late ’80s, those tickets set me back $106 each. Today, they fetch $345.
Yet through live transmission, you can enjoy that same high-caliber grand opera for an inflation-beating $22—while still viewing it at the very moment it’s performed. And for your 93 percent savings, you’ll enjoy a superior view. At The Met, I could hardly have been closer to the stage than the fourth row. Yet I could take in only the conductor’s back. In your local theatre seat, the camera will reveal the conductor from the front. You’ll pick up the fire in his eyes, the determined set of his jaw. You’ll watch his baton, and you’ll sway with the grace of his hands while they direct world-class musicians to play every note exactly as he commands.
I’m not exaggerating when I state that the varied camera angles make the hometown experience actually better than being in New York. From my fourth-row perch at Lincoln Center, the musicians were completely out of sight, hidden in the orchestra pit below my line of vision. On the neighborhood cinema screen, you’ll see the violinist’s fingers race up and down the frets and the horn player’s embouchure vibrate into the trumpet’s mouthpiece.
The same intimacy holds for the singers. Through the power and breadth of high-definition technology, you can observe the flutter of their eyelashes. Instead of imagining their facial expressions, you’ll see their outpouring of hatred, pity and love in cinematic close-up. Their exquisite voices will thrill you through the purity of Dolby surround sound. During intermission, you’ll find it hard to leave your seat so intent will you be on watching the stage crew muscle giant sets into place. Heretofore, their backstage activities remained a curtained mystery.
The Met: Live in HD opens its 2012-13 seven-month season on October 13 with Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore. Whether you choose to attend all 12 operas in the series or to cherry-pick your favorites, you will congratulate yourself on paying far less for a product that quality modern technology has raised to a level well above your highest expectations.
Editor’s note: The author does not have a stake in The Met, nor does he own a chain of movie theaters that will be showing The Met: Live in HD series. He is merely a fan.