It seems that HD simulcasts may soon be a regular part of the season for many opera companies across the country. This week Seattle Opera announced that their Saturday, May 5, 2012 performance of Puccini’s masterpiece Madama Butterfly, can be seen live in HD, for free, at the KeyArena in Seattle. Combined attendance (McCaw Hall and KeyArena) is expected to be in excess of 10,000 – the biggest live opera audience in Seattle’s history! (Ticket information below)
Seattle Opera is the second company to announce a free HD simulcast in 2012 – Dallas Opera will simulcast Mozart’s The Magic Flute into Cowboy Stadium this month. Both companies join the ranks of San Francisco Opera, Washington National Opera and, of course, The Metropolitan Opera, who all have offered very successful, free HD simulcasts in their respective cities.
Made possible by Seattle Opera’s four-year Excellence Award from The Wallace Foundation, this free simulcast gives the company an exciting opportunity to introduce the art form to thousands of people who have never before been to an opera. This landmark event is part of The Next Fifty, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair. The simulcast also celebrates the 1962 opera performance at the World’s Fair that led to the formation of Seattle Opera.
“Bringing a Seattle Opera performance to everyone has long been my dream,” says Speight Jenkins, General Director of Seattle Opera. “The simulcast of Madama Butterfly will allow everyone who can get into KeyArena the opportunity of revelling in the love and pain of one of the most appealing characters in opera, Madama Butterfly. We are happy to celebrate 50 great years of Seattle Center in this way.”
Up to 8,000 free tickets will be made available to the public, who may reserve priority seating for the simulcast at seattleopera.org/keysimulcast beginning April 9 at 9 a.m. On May 5, priority seating, for those who have registered in advance, begins at 6:00 p.m. The doors then open to everyone, with or without a ticket, at 6:30 p.m. At 7:30 p.m., the opera begins; attendees will experience a multi-camera, HD view of everything from the orchestra warming up in the pit to the final curtain call on a 50 x 80-foot screen at one end of KeyArena. The simulcast will run for 2 hours and 45 minutes, including one 30 minute intermission.
In addition to the live simulcast of Madama Butterfly, the evening will also include pre- performance and intermission video features that introduce the art form of opera and offer behind-the-scenes looks at the different components—orchestra, chorus, hair, makeup, costumes, scenery, community engagement, and more—that go into bringing this epic art form to the stage. There will also be an audience giveaway that includes tickets to the 2012/13 season opening production of Turandot, another Puccini favorite. Pre-performance activities in the lobbies, including a kimono demonstration, are also planned. Food and beverages (including beer and wine) will be available from KeyArena concessions.
Madama Butterfly closes Seattle Opera’s 2011/12 season with an eight-performance run from May 5 through May 20. Making her Seattle Opera debut as Cio-Cio-San on May 5 is soprano Patricia Racette, in what has become her signature role. “For vocal grandeur and theatrical intensity, Racette’s impersonation of the doomed teenage geisha ranked among the soprano’s great appearances with the company [San Francisco Opera] — a list that is already overflowing with memorable achievements,” wrote the San Francisco Chronicle. Also making his debut is Italian tenor Stefano Secco, as the U.S. Naval officer who loves and abandons her. Madama
Butterfly is conducted by Julian Kovatchev and directed on stage by Peter Kazaras, who also serves as the Artistic Director for Seattle Opera’s Young Artists Program. Video direction for the simulcast is by Frank Zamacona, known for his work with San Francisco Opera’s successful “Opera at the Ballpark” simulcast series.
Production Sponsors: ArtsFund, Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, Eulalie Schneider, Janet Wright Ketcham
Additional Production Support: 4Culture
Simulcast Partners: Seattle Center, KeyArena at Seattle Center, the Seattle Symphony and Opera Players’ Organization, AGMA, I.A.T.S.E., Local #15, T.W.U., Local #887, and Local #488
Reserve Your Tickets: http://seattleopera.org/keysimulcast/