So I was invited to my very first Met: Live in HD transmission by some writer friends, and of course I said yes. I love opera, and despite there being some grumblings on the internet about the streaming events maybe not really encouraging opera attendance, I was curious to try out the experience.
For those of you who don’t know what Met Live in HD events are, they’re livestreams of an opera performance taking place at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. They broadcast it out to regular movie theaters, to try to gather interest around opera or whatever. I only paid $25 for the chance to see Macbeth in a comfy chair with enthusiastic opera people, so I count that as a win.
The gist: The opera itself is based on the Shakespearean play MacBeth, the tale of a Scottish nobleman undone by his belief in superstition and malevolently ambitious wife. His so-called destiny of becoming the king is hinted at by witches, played by a crowd of flapper-style women, which I thought was really fun. So this leads him to kill the king and take over, naturally. But soon this devolves into Macbeth suspecting everyone involved in the prophecy to be working against him, and starts killing folks left and right. But there’s delicious retribution at the end, so it’s all okay.
What I “learned”: First of all, never try to go to an opera sleep-deprived. I was falling asleep during certain arias, not because they were boring but because I had hosted a different film screening the night before. So don’t do that.
As for the opera itself, I’m personally very happy to see the trend of short and dark operas continuing. Sure, opera companies are trying to figure out how to appeal to younger people. But I’m glad to see that some of the “revamps” of older projects are still made well. It’s always a struggle to get new people interested in opera while maintaining the loyalty of the old guard. But maybe mixing up the repertoire like this is the way to do it. Old and new, not too far one direction or the other.
See this movie if you like: Trying new things while staying in a familiar format. I know a lot of people don’t like the idea of going to the opera because they perceive it as an overall fussy experience. But if you’re watching it in a movie theater, with behind-the-scenes interviews at intermission, it’s a much easier experience to handle. There was also lots of laughter and food smuggling in my theater, which was both funny and encouraging.
Avoid this movie if: You’re just not into opera. Don’t know it till you try it, as I’ve screamed to many people who say they’re not up for the opera. And I think the Met’s finally realized that their bread’s buttered on the younger side of the bread, so they’re definitely going to try to woo the young dollars more and more. But if you’re not interested in trying it, there’s probably nothing I can do to convince you. Have fun sneaking food into a different theater. I’ll sip wine and eat cheese and cracker in this one.
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