“Aida” an opera by Verdi, will be shown at the Homer Theater in its traditional form, performed by the Metropolitan Opera.
It took about two years for Homer Theatre owner Jamie Sutton and manager Robin Daugherty to pull it off, but their extra efforts were rewarded recently with the theater’s live telecast of five Metropolitan Opera performances. Homer will share the showings with other communities throughout the country.
And while Homer may well be the first small community in Alaska to tap into the talent of the famed Lincoln Center’s productions through this new media offering, Anchorage has shown Metropolitan Opera for the past year.
Sutton said he secured the contract to bring the live, up-close telecasts to “enrich the cultural and artistic life of Homer.”
“The most remarkable singers in the world are shown as if they were feet away,” he said.
Contract negotiations and an investment in special, high-definition equipment endorsed by the opera company made it possible. The theatre incorporated two 500-gigabyte external hard drives, receivers and digital switchers in order to ensure Metropolitan quality sound. Projectionist Booth Manager Kevin Beeker hooked up the equipment to the theater’s surround sound.
For those unfamiliar and intimidated by opera, these “live” telecasts from New York are introduced and explained. Behind-the-scenes glimpses and interviews with singers take place between acts.
All shows are scheduled for noon on Sundays.
February opens with “Der Rosenkavalier,” or “The Knight of the Rose.” The three-act comic opera was written by Richard Strauss, and first performed in Dresden in 1911. The opera is set to an original German libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal, and focuses on four main characters. It tells the story of love, marriage for money and the angst of courtship in a rich Viennese bourgeois.
“Aida” is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi, based on a narrative written by French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette. This opera was first performed at the Khedivial Opera House in Cairo on Christmas Eve in 1871. When presented to modern audiences, it is often adapted into a rock opera with the plot enacted as history.
The original story takes place in ancient Egypt, where Aida — an Ethiopian princess — is captured and brought into slavery in Egypt. There, a military commander struggles to choose between his love for her and his loyalty to the Pharaoh.
“Tales of Hoffmann” (“Les contes d’Hoffmann”) is an opera by Jacques Offenbach, first produced in Paris in 1851. The French libretto was written by Jules Barbier, and is based on short stories by E. T. A. Hoffmann, who is the main protagonist in the stories.
Offenbach did not live to see his opera performed, dying in 1880, just over four months before its premiere. Before his death, Offenbach had completed the piano score and orchestrated the prologue and the first act. Since he didn’t finish the writing, different versions of the opera emerged.
“Carmen” is a French comic opera by Georges Bizet that premiered in Paris in 1875. The libretto is by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy, and is based on a novella of the same title, 1845. The story was also suggested by the poem, “The Gypsies,” by Alexander Pushkin in 1824. Bizet died of a heart attack in 1875 at age 36, so he never really knew how popular “Carmen” would become. Since the 1880s, the opera has been one of the world’s most-performed.
Metropolitan Opera Schedule at Homer Theatre
- “AIDA” — Feb. 21, noon
- “LES CONTES D’HOFFMAN” — Feb. 28, noon
- “CARMEN” — March 14, noon
Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and $5 for children or students