Operatic treat

NEW YORK’S METROPOLITAN Opera gave its first live performance in Dubai on Saturday but not in the way most of you are probably accustomed to. Beamed directly from NYC the opera’s matinee performance was shown live on screen at the Madinat Theatre at 9pm UAE time.

By David Light

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Published: Sun 19 Oct 2008, 9:44 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:44 PM

The award-winning high definition live transmission technology used to carry out this feat consists of a merge between film and live performance, creating a new art form and a one of a kind artistic experience for the viewers. The audio elements of the HD transmission featured multi channel surround sound audio allowing viewers to hear the singers and orchestra clearly as well as the sounds that come from the action on stage. It aims to give those not able to make the journey a chance to experience some of the best performances in the world and actually delivers a little more than you would have got had you been in the Big Apple to see the show in person.

Richard Strauss’s Salome was the performance on Saturday and the audience here in the UAE was treated to a rare backstage peek five minutes before curtain up. An interviewer knocked on Karita Mattila’s dressing room door in order to get a few words just before she went on stage. Cameras then followed her through the wings to the main stage where she and all the other performers took up their first positions. Quick as a flash the curtain was up and it was like being there in person. The sound and action was crystal clear making for a very enjoyable viewing of a superb two-hour opera.

Fifteen or more HD cameras caught the action of the Met’s concert both onstage and off, providing never before seen angles. Peter Gelb, General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera stated after the show, “I am glad the audience enjoyed the live special transmissions. We are especially pleased that the music standards and very talented international team of top directors and singers were well prepared for the big night, and we are looking for more success in the upcoming events.”

Richard Attias, CEO of Dubai Event Management Corporation, the company which organised this magnificent event, told City Times, “The turnout to the event exceeded our expectations; underscoring Dubai’s enhanced levels of cultural awareness. The overwhelming response comes as an incentive for DEMC to organise more such cultural events in the future that will successfully place Dubai on the international landscape of art and culture.”

He added, “The reason we brought this here is because of the new opera house being built in Dubai. We need to educate people about this type of show and give them the background. I remember the first time I saw an opera and I’m not ashamed to admit after ten minutes I was sleeping! I appreciated the music but I just didn’t understand it so I got bored. With these broadcasts there are subtitles and people can get used to the performance before they come here and fill the opera house. Having the Met Opera broadcast to Dubai is a fabulous privilege we could not afford to miss.”

Mr Attias also went on to explain DEMC’s role in the city. “We are here to enhance the Dubai experience and family lifestyle. Arts and culture are one of our four pillars we aim to improve in the region along with sports, entertainment and conferences. This is a great step in promoting arts and culture in Dubai.”

This performance was the first of ten operas scheduled to be broadcast in Dubai alongside other global cities in Europe and South America that have joined the network this season. Shows to look forward to this season include the Met premiere of John Adams’ contemporary masterpiece ‘Doctor Atomic;’ the rarely staged masterpiece ‘La Damnation de Faust’ by Berlioz and Massenet’s ‘Thais’ along with many more. Tickets and times are available at www.madinattheatre.com. The next performance will be Dr Atomic at 9pm on Saturday November 8.


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