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Met Opera in HD returns to Theaters on Oct. 10

Time flies when you’re having fun, even if that “fun” turns out to be watching often-tragic operas in HD at the local movie house. It’s been nearly three years since the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center in New York City began a risky experiment (both in financial commitment and reputation) to bring their live performances to what started as a modest number of theater screens throughout North America and overseas.

The new season which begins this Saturday, Oct. 10, will likely be viewed by more than two-million opera lovers globally. That would be about six times the 325,000 tickets sold for the HD telecast’s first abbreviated season back in 2006-07. Since the first “season” of HD telecasts, the number of productions (usually beamed both live and in encore presentations) doubled last year to 11 events.

It was an HD gamble that was literally outside the box and inside the theater that was even bettered received than the Met’s management had anticipated. “We gambled, we took the calculated risk that it was going to be successful enough to justify the expense of producing these shows in high definition,” Peter Gelb, the Met's general manager,” told the Denver Post.

The 2009-10 season starting this weekend features a new production of “Tosca” with soprano Karita Mattila in the title role.

Ironically, while last season’s 1.8 million ticket holders likely will be surpassed this season, there will be two less productions than a year ago because of the worldwide recession. But those nine events this season have two huge things going for it: 900 movie screens in at least 42 nations.