The naysayers who cheerfully predict the demise of classical music must have missed the memo (or tweet) about the Metropolitan Opera's Live television broadcasts.
Since their inception in 2006, this tiny little hope for the best experiment has blossomed into a 65-country, 2000-theatre, $40-million-dollar-a year juggernaut. Classical music dead? Tell the tens of thousands of people from Australia, the Czech Republic, Argentina, Latvia, Puerto Rico, New Zealand or right here in Canada who line up to see operas in their local theatres. The Met's HD Live program is one of the great (and unexpected) success stories in all of music history.
This week the Met unveiled the 10 operas that will make up its TV offering next season. Included with the expected Carmens and Tales of Hoffmanns will be new productions of The Marriage of Figaro, The Merry Widow, and Cavalleria Rusticana. And the HD Live team will also broadcast the first Metropolitan Opera productions ever of John Adams's The Death of Klinghoffer and Tchaikovsky's Iolanta, the rare opera that was actually the other half of the double bill when The Nutcracker was premiered in St. Petersburg in 1892. Anna Netrebko's portrayal of Lady Macbeth in Verdi's Macbeth and a production of Wagner's Die Meistersinger are also included in the season, which begins Oct. 11.
Best news of all. It seems that the Met broadcasts by and large haven't affected audiences to live opera around the world. And why should they? Sports figured it out long ago –TV builds audiences to live events, not destroy them.