04.25.2007 12:00 AM
Popular Met Opera HD Broadcasts to Return Next Season
Would the public pay good money to see live (and recorded "encore") broadcasts of Metropolitan Opera productions from Lincoln Center in New York City? On the big screen in movie theaters? In HD? Well, of course.

Many American markets have been offering multiple locations for the broadcasts; while some markets, like St. Louis, have been offering a single location (the St. Louis Mills 18 in Hazelwood, Mo.).

The final broadcast of this season, Puccini's "Il Trittico," is set to air Saturday, April 28, and in St. Louis (and many other cities) the performances routinely sell between 90-100 percent of all available seats on a regular basis, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The success of this year's special broadcasts has led the Met to already announce at least eight broadcasts will be sent via satellite to theaters in HD next season, as well. Met Marketing Director Julie Borchard-Young said the HD series' inaugural season exceeded expectations "which were pretty high and mighty. The number of tickets we've sold is extraordinary."

The HD showings managed to sell a total of nearly 300,000 tickets in the U.S. for half a dozen live broadcasts and encore presentations--which is nearly half the number of Met patrons who get to see an entire season in person at Lincoln Center.

At a relatively low-ticket price of $18, the productions are far more accessible to a broader range of people. The Met said the broadcasts are being made possible, in part, by "significant concessions" from the opera house's unions.

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