If you’ve attended an HD production of the Metropolitan Opera in your local theatre, you know how good it is. You have the best seats possible to hear and see the performance without paying the big bucks to be in Lincoln Center. If you live in, or are visiting another country when there’s an HD opera production, there’s another dimension to the experience.
This weekend “Il Trovatore” played at the Cinema in Uzes. It was the second opera I’ve seen here. Last year, when mon fils was visiting, we saw “Carmen.” I missed him!
Anna Netrebko, the heroine Leonora who sacrifices her life for the love of the troubadour, was superb, as was Yonghoon Lee who played the role of Manrico.
But it was Dmitri Hvorostovsky as Count di Luna who won our hearts. Prior to the beginning of the Met season, Hvorostovsky announced he had a brain tumor. He was never expected to perform again. Despite the seriousness of his illness, he was there, on stage, for a most magnificent portrayal of the Count. The closeups of his face, which cameras the HD audience captured, were able to show he knew millions of viewers were watching. For a few seconds he seemed to step out of his role to acknowledge the loud applause from the live viewers at the Met. You didn’t have to be there in person to feel the love and admiration.
The other dimension
The night’s experience for those attending in New York may have been wonderful, however, it couldn’t have been as interesting as in Uzes. The funky, retro cinema was packed with enthusiastic opera lovers and lots of champagne!
It is France!
Like last year, it seemed a bit bizarre. An Italian opera, performed live in New York, broadcast live at a cinema in Uzes — with French subtitles —
Here’s a review of last year’s performance of “Carmen” and more views of the Uzes movie house.
The opera and cast of Carmen
When last I heard music from “Carmen” I was in Myrtle Beach, SC. The Carolina Master Choral of the Grand Strand, as a fund-raiser, hosted a professional opera singer who performed a few of the most famous arias.
This “live” version of “Carmen,” in HD from the Met, was broadcast in the only cinema in Uzes. As I watched the performance, I was remembering Myrtle Beach and other times in my life when I’ve heard the music from “Carmen.” I also thought of the millions of people all over the world who were attending the HD event along with me at their local theaters. Isn’t technology amazing!??
People who have seen an HD version of the Met operas have said how wonderful it is. Now that I’ve been to one myself, I have to agree. It’s the next best thing to sitting in Lincoln Center.
The Cinema in Uzes
The only theater in Uzes is on a narrow street that runs into the main “rue” of town. From the outside the building looks like a theater straight out of a Woody Allen film.
The inside isn’t much different.
Except at this cinema, there are “do-it-yourself” popcorn machines and bizarre candy machine.
Most interesting is that you can order a meal that is served during intermission.
Wine, beer, champagne and other drinks of your liking, of course.
The Met performance of “Carmen” was a unique experience. Now that I know that meals and drink are available for most nightly theater shows, I know I’ll be back! If you’re in Uzes, the Cinema is definitely a place you should check out. There are several films with English subtitles each week. Or if you’re trying to learn French, going to a show with French subtitles is an interesting way to practice reading the language.
Love Carmen! Love the Cinema!
Categories: Around France, Blog, Chapter 4: Life in France Part Two, Uzès
I love the Met in HD productions….and I thought this one was wonderful. Brilliant concept…if the people won’t come to the Met, the Met will come to the people!
I’ve been to the Met a couple of times and it is a thrill…just being there as much as the performance. I love when the HD starts off with the audience getting settled…adds to the feeling of being there.
It really does feel almost like being there, Paula. And how lucky we are that we can enjoy the Met all the way in Uzes. Hoping that I can make more of the performances this year. Thanks for the note!
Deborah you have captured the essence of the Opera experience in the theater of Uzes. It is so wonderful to be up close and see the facial expressions and then at intermission to get the performers to tell about their work and this performance make going to the live opera seem a distant reality with this form of presentation. As usual the pictures of the performance and the food as well as the town area were expressed perfectly–GREAT JOB!!
Enjoyed the experience with you and Paula this year. You have to be there, right? Also right about “simulcast.” Editing now! Thanks ll