Poster for the Opera Carmen
This past weekend, mda and I (RBD) went to see the Metropolitan Opera matinee performance of CARMEN by George Bizet. No we didn’t fly to NYC, catch a cab and dash into Lincoln Center to see this marvelous production. We simply went to our local movie theatre, in our jeans, to watch The MET: Live in HD Cinecast of the MET’s CARMEN! (oh, and it was LIVE!!!!!)
mda: Wow. First off, let’s talk about what a great concept this is for the
Georges Bizet: Composer, CARMEN
MET. As we all know, opera is the most complete art form on this planet as it is a mixture of music, literature, drama, art and dance all in one performance. However, this also makes opera one of the most expensive art forms to produce. By broadcasting live to a large variety of movie theaters around the US (3 different theaters in Indy alone), the MET is able to garner more support through ticket sales and asking for contributions before each performance. It is a great marketing tool.
RBD: I totally agree. I have heard people talking about this ‘MET at the Movies deal for a year now and am sorry to say that this was my first experience. I was blown away. For years I have been playing operas underneath the stage. I’ve played more operas than I’ve seen through the years! With the movie experience, as an audience member, you not only get to see what is going on up on the stage, you get to see A LOT of the action backstage! WOW! To be able to see the scenery moving around and the actors/singers getting ready for the next scene/act, is really a COOL experience! I agree with mda
Elina Garanca as Carmen
that opera is an expensive art-form and the extra 40-60 people in each theater around the country hearing a sales pitch from the lovely and talented Rene Fleming is an added bonus (as my friend Jared says, “Besides war, opera is the most expensive human invention.”) Broadcasting operas such as Carmen, in a relaxed atmosphere is the perfect way to get and create a larger audience HOOKED on opera!
mda: So I just ran across this article. The MET beat their previous record with 320,000 viewers around the world. 320,000 people enjoying the opera. Let me say that again, 320,000 viewers AROUND THE WORLD! How cool is that?
Elina Garanca as her natural blond
RBD: That is pretty cool! Just amazing! FINALLY an arts organization that is DOING SOMETHING DIFFERENT!! A new concept that is bringing the ARTS to the MASSES!! So many organizations are simply waiting for the people to come to them. They think, ‘If we provide a good artistic experience at the highest level, people are surely to be here to check it out.’ And, sadly, people don’t show up. Yes, the concert, the performance is spectacular, but people are not coming. Now, the MET brings opera to the people and it is PAYING OFF! What can other arts organizations learn from this? Thinking outside the box is a great way to create a new audience! Why don’t more arts organizations do this? What is holding them back? Tradition? Fear? Laziness?
mda: Those are all great points. I think it is tradition and a little fear. Is it possible when the MET announced the opera HD experience in theaters four seasons ago that other arts organizations thought they ‘sold out?’ I hope not, but I really don’t know. Let’s bring other art forms in to mainstream venues. I think it is important to reach the masses in their comfort zone than expect them to leave their comfort zone to reach the art forms. One thing I know we talked about after the performance was over is the accessibility of the entire opera. I think you made the comment that you didn’t realize how much of the music you were really familiar with. I think you said something like 80% of the music. Do you think this could be a ‘gateway’ piece to introduce people to classical music?
RBD: Oh, absolutely. Getting to go out to see a classic opera such as CARMEN that has great music, recognizable music and a story line that is easy to follow and engaging, is a perfect choice. The MET wasn’t selling out, they were presenting a classic opera to 320,000 people coming to see it across the world. If 10% of those people came back to see a less popular opera, or a modern opera, that’s 32,000 more people checking out OPERA! Job well done in my opinion!
mda: Definitely. Plus, Elina Garanca as Carmen was absolutely amazing! I don’t think I have ever been so
Elina as the saucy and sensual Carmen
moved by a performance as I was that afternoon. Bravo to all at the MET! Your organization is truly something other arts organizations should look up to!
RBD: Kudos to the MET! Couldn’t agree more mda! Could not agree more.
p.s. – Can you tell we think Elina Garanca is absolutely, stunningly talented (and gorgeous)!??!!?