Metropolitan Opera comes to Breck |

Metropolitan Opera comes to Breck

There’s no need to travel to New York for world-class opera, because this Saturday, the Met’s opera is coming to you. Not only is the National Repertory Orchestra (NRO) and Colorado Mountain College (CMC) partnering to broadcast The Metropolitan Opera Association of New York City’s production of “Carmen” in high-definition in the college’s auditorium, but also, they’re pairing the evening with cuisine from Modis.

This is the first time the NRO has offered a renowned opera piece to the community, and a lot of it is thanks to opera buff David Pessel, who also happens to serve on the NRO board of directors. He originally wanted to work with Colorado opera companies, which were supportive of the idea but unable to pull anything together this year. So, he turned to the Met.

The Met has been presenting opera since 1880, and currently offers about 27 different operas annually, for a total of 220 shows. Critics consider its standards to be some of the highest in the world. The Met has used technology to broadcast its performances since its weekly radio spots in 1931 and television shows since 1977. In 2006, it expanded its capacity to reach audiences by providing live satellite radio broadcasts and high-definition video transmissions.

The broadcast required CMC to acquire equipment to project in high definition. Revenue will be shared among CMC, the NRO and the Met. Beginning in the fall, CMC and the NRO will have the ability to select a number of live broadcasts from the Met with the option to rebroadcast a specific show once, said Ken Toltz, NRO executive director. This Saturday’s viewing of “Carmen” is a rebroadcast that “received fabulous reviews (and has) some incredible opera singers,” Toltz said.

Plus, in the intimate auditorium, “it will be like having the best seat in the house,” he said.

This Saturday’s showing is a bit of a test run to see how many opera lovers it draws from Summit County and beyond. In addition, the alliance with the Met is part of a strategic plan to co-operate with “another world-class national performing arts association,” Toltz said. He hopes it will help expand the NRO’s already loyal base of fans.

“Carmen,” a French opera by Georges Bizet, is one of the most performed operas worldwide. Based on the novel by the same name, it tells the story of Carmen, a gypsy with a fiery temper who falls in love with Don Jose. But the love affair results in a break up with Don’s former love, as well as his mutiny as a soldier. And when Carmen turns her attention to another man, Don Jose becomes murderous. The opera broke ground when it was first performed in 1875 in Paris because it stepped away from comic opera, toward a more tragic story.

This showing of “Carmen” features the Latvian mezzo-soprano Elina Garanca as Carmen, and the tenor Roberto Alagna as Don Jose. Acclaimed British director Richard Eyre directed “Carmen” and changed the date of the Seville setting to the 1930s from the 1830s, “to invoke the repressive period of the Spanish Civil War.”

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