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Classical Notes: February 28, 2007 Archive

Taking in a matinee with Garrison Keillor

Posted at 11:22 AM on February 28, 2007 by Valerie Kahler (5 Comments)

A colleague of mine went to see Tchaikovsky's Eugen Onegin over the weekend - not at the Ordway or in Orchestra Hall, but at the Regal Cinemas in Eagan. As always, The Met broadcast the production live to radio, but they also beamed an HD audio and video stream to select movie theatres around the world.

Ms. Colleague said she was blown away by how wonderful it was, and even her dragged-there-against-his-will-husband got caught up in the magic.

I have to say I think it's a brilliant move on the part of the Met. There's a huge untapped audience of potential opera fans who've been scratching their heads all these years, wondering what all the fuss was about. Once they've seen the spectacle , everything will be made clear.

Apparently there was more than one MPRian in the theatre Saturday. Evidence: this super-lovely piece, spotted at Salon.com this morning.

Here's a snippet:

The telecast I saw was live, not recorded live but live live, which made for some interesting moments. In Act I the stage is covered with dry leaves, a stunning visual, though for several minutes, the tenor Ramon Vargas had a leaf sitting atop his curly black hair. You wondered if it's a small bald spot, and then you wondered if it was Yom Kippur. At one point somebody dropped a ring onstage and it rolled toward one of the microphones, sounding like a hubcap. The conductor, Valery Gergiev, looked like a Wisconsin dairy farmer who just woke up and had a beer for breakfast. But he was magnificent.

The next Met productions coming to a big screen near you: Encore performances of Tan Dun's The First Emperor March 3 and 11 at Eden Prairie Mall, Regal Brooklyn Center & Regal Eagan Stadium and a live-live broadcast Rossini's Barber of Seville March 24 at the two Regal theatres. The shows begin at 12:30.

Bravo to the Met. Bravissimo. For three hours on a Saturday afternoon, everything that had been on our minds faded to black and we lived as in a dream with a handsome man in search of happiness and a beautiful woman who found satisfaction, and then we walked out into the snow and started our cars.

The guy can write.

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