Turandot picks up relay baton
Whoever said that live (and deferred) opera relays to cinemas would never catch on must be even better acquainted with egg-on-face than the recently ambushed Leader of Her Majesty's Opposition, writes Paul Riley.
From New York's Metropolitan Opera House dipping the first toe into the water, the rise and rise has been astonishing. The number-crunching says it all.
Covent Garden took the plunge fairly modestly in 2007 and this season is up to 10 productions (five apiece of opera and ballet) beamed into some 900-plus cinemas in 35 countries.
Highlights include a new Manon Lescaut, with tenor of the moment Jonas Kaufmann next June; the Stephen Langridge Parsifal, created specially for the Wagner bicentenary; and, to even things up, a new Sicilian Vespers in November, for the Verdi 200 celebrations.
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Setting the ball rolling, though, is more Puccini: his exotic swansong Turandot. Henrik Nanasi conducts a revival of the venerable Andrei Serban production with Lise Lindstrom in the title role. And, as Calaf, Marco Berti is tasked with the iconically stratosphere-stretching Nessun Dorma.