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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

Peter Hall continues trying to figure out how “it” all works. For Classical 94.5 WNED and on-stage with the Buffalo Chamber Music Society he’s conducted over 1,000 interviews with artists to get at answers. On “Theater Talk” his favorite question of co-host Anthony Chase is simply “What’s goin’ on?” In every situation he’s in Peter wonders: “What’s the big picture here?” And, “if I had to teach this, how would I break it down to explain it?”

That’s why he loves writing reviews. A show with a strong message that makes him laugh and cry and think about life is a good show. Heard Friday mornings at 6:45 and 8:45 a.m. on WBFO 88.7 FM “Theater Talk” repeats Saturday afternoons at 5:55 p.m. on Classical 94.5 WNED, the radio station where Peter is currently the afternoon drive host as well as producer and host of “Buffalo Philharmonic Live” (Sundays at 5 p.m. repeating Fridays at 10 p.m. on WNED). For the Buffalo Chamber Music Society he moderates on-stage pre-concert chats with the artists and is on-stage host of the Falletta (classical guitar) Competition.

Peter holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature from Columbia University and an M.B.A. from SUNY at Buffalo. For twenty-five years he has been an adjunct professor for Canisius College’s Richard J. Wehle School of Business. He is currently a member of the “Artie Awards Committee.”

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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.