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Local girl, now a star, to sing her “swan song” at the Met. Renée Fleming to be broadcast in movie theaters.

While two movie theaters in Buffalo (the North Park on Hertel Avenue and we can count the Amherst Theater, since it’s right across Main Street from the UB South Campus) are known as “art houses,” there is a third Buffalo movie theater with a strong commitment to “the arts” and that is the Regal Elmwood Center 16. Yes, the multiplex at 2001 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo. Since it’s a “city” theater (with all the baggage that word carries) it doesn’t get the traffic that its suburban cousin on Transit in Williamsville enjoys, but it delivers, among other things, one of the highest art forms known to mankind, ten Saturday afternoons a year (and ten more “encores” on Wednesday night).

It carries, live from New York, full length Metropolitan Opera presentations, live broadcasts in High Definition at very affordable prices ($24 adults, $22 Seniors, $18 Children) compared to a ticket to Lincoln Center (not to mention travel to Manhattan, lodging, etc.).

The Metropolitan Opera opened in 1883 as a bit of an “upstart,” an answer to New York City’s prestigious Academy of Music, which catered to the social elite. Continuing this tradition, in December 2006, the company launched another initiative to bring live opera to the rest of us with “The Met: Live in HD” series of performance transmissions shown live in high definition in movie theaters around the world. The series expanded from an initial six transmissions to ten in the 2014–15 season and this 2016-17 season it reaches more than 2,000 venues in 70 countries across six continents. The Live in HD performances are later also shown in encores at 6:30 p.m. on the following Wednesdays, then on public television, and a number of them have been released on DVD. There is also a partnership with schools, including the Buffalo Public School system.

So why talk about this now? For two reasons, and they’re both gorgeous sopranos. Every opera house has its favorites, and without a doubt for the past 25 years it has been the American super-star soprano Renée Fleming, who grew up right down the Thruway in Rochester, NY, and is a graduate of SUNY Potsdam. On Saturday, May 13, at 12:30 this international sensation, welcomed on all the great stages of the world, will sing her final role at the Met, as the Marschallin in the opera “Der Rosenkavalier” by Richard Strauss. Even if opera “isn’t your thing” this might be an exception for you.

The other reason/soprano is the super-star who is the current “darling diva” of the Met, and that’s the Russian Anna Netrebko (who actually lives in NYC) singing the role of Tatiana in Tchaikovsky’s opera “Eugene Onegin.” That’s this Saturday, April 22, at 12:55 p.m.

For more information, The Met maintains one of the most complete websites at www.metopera.org/Season/In-Cinemas.

And, by the way, if you get your tickets through Fandango, you may get a “sold out” message. That’s never been the case at the Regal 16. At Transit, maybe, but not here in “the city.”

Photo: Andrew Eccles

Written by Peter Hall

Peter Hall

If you enjoy public radio and television in Buffalo, you’ve probably heard or seen Peter Hall asking you for money. He’s the co-host of “Theater Talk” with Anthony Chase (Friday mornings at 6:45 and 8:45 a.m. on WBFO, 88.7 FM) and is the afternoon drive host on Classical 94.5 / WNED where he also produces and hosts “Buffalo Philharmonic Live” (Sundays at 5 p.m. repeating Tuesdays at 11 p.m.) broadcasting BPO performances conducted by JoAnn Falletta. Around town he’s the emcee for Buffalo Chamber Music Society concerts, the Falletta competition, and the Camerata di Sant’Antonio concerts. If you see him at a play or musical with a pen in his hand, he’s probably writing a review for buffalorising.com.

In past lives he has been a Director of Membership for Western New York Public Broadcasting (PBS and NPR), a Director of Marketing for Canisius College, and before that was a Director of Marketing for Fisher-Price. He feels fortunate to have worked for some of the most trusted brands in Western New York.

Growing up in the Amherst school system, music, the arts, literature, outdoor activities, and teaching were important in his family. His grandfather, the painter W.J. Schwanekamp, has works on display at the Burchfield-Penney. His father was a high school English teacher and his mother was a public librarian. In high school, in addition to running track and cross country and being in the ski club, Peter played various instruments in the orchestra, had leading roles in the plays, and was an editor of the high school newspaper. Peter holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature from Columbia University and an M.B.A. from SUNY at Buffalo. For over twenty years he has taught undergraduate and graduate classes at Canisius College’s Richard J. Wehle School of Business.

Depending on the season, on weekends he can be seen riding with the Niagara Frontier Bicycle Club or teaching downhill skiing at Kissing Bridge.

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  • BufChester

    Dipson owns/runs the North Park? I hope Peter Hall is more accurate in the rest of the article than he is in the first sentence.