Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Opera on the big screen: Verdi's NABUCCO via satellite (and Emerging Pictures)

Live opera, in High-Definition, via satellite? Zowie! Well, sort of. The first act of Giuseppe Verdi's NABUCCO -- sat-cast from the one-of-a-kind Teatro Antico in Taormina, Sicily -- proved sterling: passionately conducted by Pier Giorgio Morandi, beautifully sung by its cast and chorus, well-enough acted (come on, it's opera!) and given a knock-out production that makes wonderful use of the open-space theater and some fabulous projections. It was all quite enough to pass muster for yours truly, an only-rare opera attendee, and who, in this case, is speaking only of the first act. Toward the end of that act, and thankfully brief, but much more present at the start of Act Two, something -- perhaps the gigantic downpour that was occurring just outside the theater and throughout much of  New York City -- was interfering with the reception, resulting in a message on screen that kept flashing us with the words "weak signal," and then little or no sound and a repeatedly pixelating picture. So TrustMovies beat a hasty retreat.

Chiara Taigi, left, plays/sings the naughty Abigaille, while
 Eufemia Tufano, right, essays the role of her good sis, Fenena 

That first act, however, proved enough to convince him of what a fine idea this hi-def, video opera really can be. To begin with, the Teatro Antico setting -- a wonderful amphitheater overlooking the coast of Taormina (remember Purple Noon?!), shown on poster, top, at night, and below in daylight, with the Ionian Sea and Mount Etna in the background -- is spectacular enough. Plus, there's the Verdi. Nabucco was the composer's third opera, and the one that most helped earn him his initial reputation. The Manhattan venue chosen for the occasion -- the Big Cinema on East 59th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues -- can't be beat: friendly, helpful staff; the most comfortable seats in town; good sight-lines; and well-regulated air-conditioning, cool but not freezing.

The $25 ticket price might sound steep. But consider what you're getting. (Also consider the cost of a seat at the city's only remaining major opera house, and I think you will be convinced.) If you have not yet tried this yearly series, coming to us via Emerging Pictures, you owe yourself a treat. Click here for a listing of future  Nabucco showings, plus the dates, times and cities in which you can attend. For those who missed seeing all four acts -- due to yesterday's weather -- there is an encore performance of the entire opera (without any transmission problem, since it will be shown in full HD quality off a server hard drive), on August 21st at 11 a.m., again at Big Cinema in New York City.)

Further, should one of these interruptions occur in any Emerging Pictures LIVE presentation, a full refund or a gratis ticket to the encore screening (or another opera) will be provided. To see a complete listing of the remaining "Live" and Encore performances in the 20111-12 Opera-in-Cinema season, click here. Or consult the listing below, which offers the latest information as per Emerging Pictures:


OPERA in CINEMA 2011-2012
Faust, Charles-Francois Gounod LIVE FROM THE Royal Opera House, London, England LIVE: Wednesday September 28, 2pm EDT RECOMMENDED RECORDED SCREENING DATE: Sunday October 2, 2011 RECOMMENDED ENCORE DATE: Tuesday October 11, 2011 STARRING Vittorio Grigolo, René Pape, Angela Gheorghiu and Dimitri Hvorostovsky ESTIMATED RUNNING TIME: 255 minutes including one intermission

Adriana Lecouvreur, Francesco Cilea CAPTURED LIVE AT THE Royal Opera House RECOMMENDED RECORDED SCREENING DATE: Sunday October 23, 2011 RECOMMENDED ENCORE DATE: Tuesday November 1, 2011 STARRING Angela Gheorghiu, Jonas Kaufmann, Olga Borodina ESTIMATED RUNNING TIME: 151 minutes plus 2 intermissions

Tosca, Giacomo Puccini CAPTURED LIVE AT THE Royal Opera House RECOMMENDED RECORDED SCREENING DATE: Sunday November 13, 2011 RECOMMENDED ENCORE DATE: Tuesday November 15, 2011 STARRING: Angela Gheorghiu, Jonas Kaufmann, Bryn Terfel and Lukas Jakobski ESTIMATED RUNNING TIME: 194 minutes including two intermissions

Don Giovanni, W.A. Mozart LIVE FROM Opening Night at Teatro alla Scala LIVE: Wednesday December 7, 2011, 12noon EST RECOMMENDED RECORDED SCREENING DATE: Sunday December 11, 2011 RECOMMENDED ENCORE DATE: Tuesday December 13, 2011 STARRING Anna Netrebko and Bryn Terfel CONDUCTED BY Daniel Barenboim ESTIMATED RUNNING TIME: 195 minutes including intermissions

Cendrillon, Jules Massenet CAPTURED LIVE AT THE Royal Opera House RECOMMENDED RECORDED SCREENING DATE: Sunday January 22, 2012 RECOMMENDED ENCORE DATE: Tuesday January 24, 2012 STARRING: Joyce DiDonato, Alice Coote and Eglise Guttiérez ESTIMATED RUNNING TIME: 170 minutes including one intermission

Il Trittico, Giacomo Puccini CAPTURED LIVE AT THE Royal Opera House RECOMMENDED RECORDED SCREENING DATE: Sunday February 12, 2012 RECOMMENDED ENCORE DATE: Tuesday February 21, 2012 STARRING: Lucio Gallo, Eva-Maria Westbroek, Anja Harteros, Anna Larsson, Elena Zilio ESTIMATED RUNNING TIME: 225 minutes including two intermissions

La Bohème, Giacomo Puccini LIVE FROM THE Gran Teatre del Liceu LIVE: Tuesday March 13, 2012, 3pm EDT RECOMMENDED RECORDED SCREENING DATE: Sunday March 25, 2012 RECOMMENDED ENCORE DATE: Tuesday March 27, 2012 STARRING Ramón Vargas and Fiorenza Cedolins ESTIMATED RUNNING TIME: 170 minutes including intermissions

Rigoletto, Giuseppe Verdi LIVE FROM THE Royal Opera House, London, England LIVE: Tuesday April 17, 2012, Time TBA RECOMMENDED RECORDED SCREENING DATE: Sunday April 22, 2012 RECOMMENDED ENCORE DATE: Tuesday April 24, 2012 STARRING Dimitri Plantanias, Ekaterina Siurina, Vittorio Grigolo, Christine Rice ESTIMATED RUNNING TIME: 129 minutes with intermissions

Spotlight Titles Available Now
La Traviata, Giuseppe Verdi CAPTURED LIVE AT THE Royal Opera House, London STARRING Renée Fleming, Joseph Calleja and Thomas Hampson RUNNING TIME: 136 minutes, plus 2 intermissions

Rigoletto from Mantua, Giuseppe Verdi CAPTURED LIVE On location in Mantua, Italy STARRING Plácido Domingo, Vittorio Grigolo, Julia Novikova and Ruggero Raimondi RUNNING TIME: 153 minutes, plus 1 intermission

The Magic Flute,W.A. Mozart CAPTURED LIVE AT Teatro alla Scala, Milan, Italy DIRECTED BY William Kentridge RUNNING TIME: 164 minutes plus one intermission

Manon, Jules Massenet CAPTURED LIVE AT THE Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona, Spain STARRING Natalie Dessay, Rolando Villazón and Samuel Ramey RUNNING TIME: 182 minutes with one intermission

Aida, Giuseppe Verdi CAPTURED LIVE AT THE Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino STARRING Roberto Tagliavini, Luciana D’Intino, Hui He and Marco Berti RUNNING TIME: 165 minutes plus 1 intermission

Carmen, Georges Bizet CAPTURED LIVE AT Teatro alla Scala STARRING Jonas Kaufmann, Erwin Schrott and Anita Rachvelishvili RUNNING TIME: 172 minutes plus 1 intermission

Macbeth, Giuseppe Verdi CAPTURED LIVE AT THE Royal Opera House STARRING Simon Keenlyside RUNNING TIME: 161 minutes plus one intermission

2 comments:

Lilia said...

Thank you so much, Jim! I loved this post. My family is originally from a little town near Taormina, so I used to go to the Teatro Antico to the opera all the time growing up. I would have loved to see this in NY, but I am out of town. I hope I can catch some of the future screenings of other operas. All the best to you,
Lilia

James van Maanen, said...

Hi, Lilia!
Is this from my favorite translator -- or another Lilia? Either way, thanks for the comment. What a wonderful experience that must have been! Just looking at the seacoast in back of the set as the opera got underway made me so want to go to Sicily! Someday....