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Volume 26, Number 7 — July 2019

A Passion for Opera

Shown is a scene from the Metropolitan Opera's production of <em>Das Rheingold</em> being broadcast in October 2010.
Shown is a scene from the Metropolitan Opera's production of Das Rheingold being broadcast in October 2010.

"The Met: Live in HD" Takes Opera to Far Corners of the Globe


According to a press release from The Metropolitan Opera, the fifth season of The Met: Live in HD series recently expanded to 1,500 theaters and 46 countries, becoming the world's largest provider of alternative cinema content. One hundred of the additional theaters are in the U.S., bringing the total U.S. theaters to 620. In the U.S., where transmissions are shown in multiplexes, it is not unusual to add screens depending on advance ticket sales.

Since its launch in the 2006-07 season, Live in HD has continually expanded its network. The inaugural transmission of Mozart's The Magic Flute was seen in 56 theaters in four countries. The expansion from four to 46 countries in only four years has been driven by public demand.

This season features 12 live transmissions, the most so far in a single sea-son. During the previous 2009-10 season, a record-breaking number of more than 2.4 million Live in HD tickets were sold worldwide for nine transmissions, effectively tripling the Met's paying audience (approximately 800,000 attend performances in the opera house itself). For last year's nine transmissions, The Met sold $48 million of tickets, with The Met receiving 50 percent of the gross box office revenues.

The Met won a special Emmy award in 2009 for "advancing technology through ongoing, live, global transmission of high-definition programming to movie theaters." The Live in HD series was honored with a prestigious 2008 Peabody Award for its "vividly designed, smartly annotated productions...using state-of-the-art digital technology to reinvent presentation of a classic art form."

— Opera Appeals to All Ages, Backgrounds: Dennis, Cindy and Torey Bates Samuel and John, Jana, Johnny and Jason Dreyzehner