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Ode to S. Ambrogio: "Carmen," live

Edited to add: Opera Chic has some canny and worthwhile assessments of La Scala's opening night. Did anybody see the broadcast who would care to chime in?

Following St. Nicholas's Day is the day of St. Ambrose, the patron saint of Milan: and every year on that day, December 7, Milan's La Scala has its opening night. This year, it's "Carmen," with Daniel Barenboim conducting the tenor heartthrob Jonas Kaufman, the bass-baritone Erwin Schrott (that's Mr. Anna Netrebko), and a young Georgian mezzo named Anita Rachvelishvili. (Opera Chic has preview photos of the dress rehearsal, and will certainly be the person to follow for up-to-date reports on the premiere.)

And this year, for the second time, La Scala's opening will be broadcast live in HD to movie theaters around the world -- including a couple in the Greater Washington area.
(read more after the jump)

While these broadcasts aren't available in quite as many theaters as the Metropolitan Opera's HD broadcasts, they have added to their network in the DC area: Washington residents can see "Carmen" in Herndon, Virginia rather than having to drive up to Baltimore (though the Charles Theater is always worth a trip). Because of the time difference, the opera will start at noon, but there will also be a repeat broadcast at 8 p.m.

And there's more: this is the start of a full program of live broadcasts from La Scala and the Liceu, with five more operas scheduled between December and next July. The next offering is a "Trovatore" from Barcelona on December 22; also on the program are La Scala's "Rheingold," Domingo in "Simon Boccanegra," and Diana Damrau in "Abduction from the Seraglio," to name a few.

While a lot of opera companies made noises about following in the Metropolitan Opera's footsteps in the opera-broadcast arena, most of them so far have been presenting taped broadcasts; this is the first significant presentation of other live opera broadcasts. It will be interesting to see if these broadcasts can match the popularity of the Met's: last year's "Don Carlo" was certainly as involving as any of the Met broadcasts I've seen, and the prospect of opera from Europe actually tempts me a good deal more.

By Anne Midgette  |  December 7, 2009; 6:40 AM ET
Categories:  international , news , opera  
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