Met opera returns to Eugene O’Neill Theater

There’s no need to fly to New York City to enjoy world-class arias from the Metropolitan Opera; here in San José, it’s as easy as catching a movie. 

The Costa Rican-North American Cultural Center’s Eugene O’Neill Theater presents the fourth season of the Metropolitan Opera’s Peabody and Emmy award-winning series, The Met: Live in HD, beginning Saturday, Oct. 15. This 2011-2012 season, 11 operas will be broadcast live in high definition on the 300-seat theater’s 6-by-3.2-meter screen.

To create an experience similar to watching an opera live at the Lincoln Center, more than 10 cameras are used to film multiple angles of the performances, and the broadcasts are delivered live to theaters around the world via Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound.

María José Calvo, spokeswoman for the Costa Rican-North American Cultural Center, described the quality of the satellite transmission as “excellent.” The operas will be shown with on-screen Spanish subtitles. In addition, theatergoers get an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at each production. 

“Viewers can see interviews with the principal singers, orchestra director and other important players,” Calvo said. “During intermissions, viewers are privy to scenery changes and other important sequences that occur backstage. Thanks to the use of robotic cameras, many of the scenes and particularly the principal arias are close-up shots, which viewers enjoy.” 

According to Calvo, Costa Rica was the first Latin American country to join the Met: Live in HD program. The Costa Rican-North American Cultural Center has since promoted the inclusion of other Latin American countries such as Chile, Colombia and Peru. Most recently, the center helped Guatemala join the roster of 50 countries that will participate in the program this season. 

Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti’s tragic opera “Anna Bolena” will open the coming season. The opera is based on the life of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of England’s King Henry VIII. Russian soprano Anna Netrebko portrays the doomed queen spiraling toward insanity. 

“Anna Bolena” will be one of seven new productions for the Met this season. Other first-time productions will be Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” Wagner’s “Siegfried,” Gounod’s “Faust,” Jeremy Sams’ “The Enchanted Island,” Wagner’s “Götterdämmerung” and Massenet’s “Manon.” 

Tickets may be purchased at the cultural center’s box office in eastern San José’s Barrio Dent, 150 meters north of La Favorita gas station. The cost is $35 for general admission and $30 for students and senior citizens. Season tickets for all 11 operas cost $350 general admission and $300 for students and seniors. For information, call the cultural center at 2207-7554. For more on the Met’s operas, go to www.metoperafamily.org.

The Met: Live in HD 2011-2012 Season

Donizetti’s “Anna Bolena,” Oct. 15, 10:55 a.m.

Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” Oct. 29, 10:55 a.m.

Wagner’s “Siegfried,” Nov. 5, 10 a.m.

Glass’ “Satyagraha,” Nov. 19, 11:55 a.m.

Handel’s “Rodelinda,” Dec. 3, 11:30 a.m.

Gounod’s “Faust,” Dec. 10, 11:55 a.m.

“The Enchanted Island,” Jan. 21, 11:55 a.m.

Wagner’s “Götterdämmerung,” Feb. 11, 11 a.m.

Verdi’s “Ernani,” Feb. 25, 11:55 a.m.

Massenet’s “Manon,” April 7, 10 a.m.

Verdi’s “La Traviata,” April 14, 10:55 a.m.