Submitted by David Claiborne Glover. On December 30th 2006 at 1:30 PM music lovers across the US filed into their local movie theaters, not sure exactly what to expect. Being broadcast live from the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City was a family-friendly, abridged version of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. It was the first in an ambitious new initiative led by the Met’s newly appointed general manager Peter Gelb. A little less than two hours later thrilled audiences from across this country, Canada, Norway, and Britain emerged enthusiastic. The Met knew it had scored a wild success. On that first weekend the box office was at 90% of capacity with 48 out of 60 US theaters sold out. Five other weeks in early 2007, the Met broadcast other performances, all in High-Defenition, with opera fans regularly selling out movie-theaters coast-to-coast. By the end of the season demand was so high that in addition to the live performances, many theaters began showing repeats Sunday afternoons to accommodate the crowds. This season (2007-2008) the Met has increased its showings from six live shows to eight, and countries from France to Australia have joined the network. This initiative is part of Peter Gelb’s attempt to bring opera to a new audience and new generation of music lovers. Over 70 years ago the Met introduced a similar project by broadcasting its Saturday performances on the radio. Now, in addition to the twenty national radio broadcasts, they hope that by showing live opera in local cinema houses they will be able to introduce new audiences to the complete experience of attending the opera. At $22 dollars a ticket it is more than your usual movie, but compared to top prices of over $200 at the Met itself, the moviecasts are a steal. Not only do you see the opera itself, but the excitement generated by it being a live broadcast, complete with intermissions, makes you almost feel as if you are there. This season’s final broadcast is this Saturday at 1:30 with repeat showings in many theaters Sunday afternoon. It is the wonderfully lighthearted comedy La Fille du Regiment (The Daughter of the Regiment) by 19th-century Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti. The action centers on a young woman brought up by a Regiment of soldiers. When she is discovered by her original family, they try and turn her into an elegant woman in order to marry her to a rich suitor. The ridiculous situations which ensue bring many laughs and of course a happy ending. Juan Diego Florez sings the part of Tonio which includes one of the pinacles of the tenor repertoire, ‘Ah mes amis,’ an aria with nine high Cs, a difficult feat not demanded from any other aria. What’s more, this past Monday night he doubled the difficulty by singing the the aria twice. That’s eighteen high Cs! Also in the cast is Tony Award winning Marian Seldes who makes her Met debut performing the cameo speaking part of the Duchess of Krakenthorp. Check http://www.fathomevents.com/files/METLISTING/met_live.html for a listing of theaters near you! Many theaters sell out ahead of time so call ahead for ticket availability. Check out story on You Tuibe.