Operatic interruptus

On Saturday afternoon, hundreds of opera lovers at Victor’s Regal Theatre missed significant chunks of Donizetti’s “La Fille du Regiment” during The Met at the Movies HD broadcast. The video broke up and the sound dropped out at the beginning of the second Act. We watched distorted faces and heard digitized squawks for about a minute. Then the screen went blue. We waited. A staff member rushed in and said they were working on the problem. About ten minutes later, the sound came back and the singers reappeared. Then it happened again. Audiences members groaned, since things were getting really interesting with the shocking disclosure of the Duchess’s illegitimate daughter!

Blue screen. Wait, wait, wait. The manager came in this time and apologized, saying local thunderstorms were blocking the transmission, and that anyone who wanted to leave could get a refund or a free ticket to another movie. It wasn’t New York’s problem.

As far as I could see, nobody left. After another seven minutes or so, the music came back, along with the visuals.

Finally, during the very last scene, it happened again. Argh! Operatic interruptus! A frustrated murmur rose up. A few people actually gasped.

I heard that this kind of failure occurred in Burbank, California during The Magic Flute. They had horrific transmission problems with pixelated video and sound delays. This is the flip side of Peter Gelb’s wonderful new technology. Glitches stink.



Interruptions of Met at the Movies

For anyone that was out in the storm on Saturday, suffice it to say that theater-goes can be happy that they were inside, and that "interruption" of the opera was the only thing that happened. The national weather service issued severe thunderstorm warnings with high winds and hail. As I was listening to the opera in my car I thought - I wonder if the folks in the theater have any idea what was expected to happen out here? I entered a store, only to be trapped inside for some time. At its worst, I couldn't even see my car, which happened to be in the very first spot in the parking lot. The thunder and beating of the rain and hail on the roof was deafening. I wondered if theater-goers could even hear the opera over all of this. Its nice to know that opera lovers are like the postman - neither rain nor hail nor thunder will keep them away. Thanks for coming and "enjoying" the opera with WXXI.

radio option

As I was sitting in the movie theater, it occurred to me to jump up and announce that the opera was simultaneously airing on Classical 91.5 - on the radio. But I didn't for a couple of reasons, one being that visuals are so crucial to the experience. It's hard for me to listen opera on the radio, unless I'm familiar with the plot and characters already.