If this had only occurred once this week, I would have shrugged and said, "Oh well." But I have now heard the same thing from three unrelated people, so I felt an urge to write something in the Longwood Opera blog. Maybe someone will read it. Maybe someone will have a solution to offer. Maybe not.
"Ohhhh! I LOVE LA BOHÈME!!!! OOOOH! It is one of my favorite operas! Sorry I can't go, but I already have tickets for the Met HD this weekend."
"Really? What Met HD are you going to see?"
"Unh, I'm not sure, but it is the Met HD and should be really good. Don't you think so?"
"I am sure it will be splendid, but it is not the same as live intimate theatre which is what we do."
"Maybe not, but it is the Met HD and it is live streaming! So it will be just like being there, without having to travel and the theatre is only about 10 minutes from my house with free parking!"
Well indeed the new production of Donizetti's Anna Bolena is sold out in NYC, but one can still go on-line and buy tickets for $23 (senior discount) at eight locations around the Boston area or splurge for the Lux level and pay $33.50 and for this Saturday.
Visiting the Legacy Mall theatre in Dedham on-line for the production, 60K people have already pressed their "like" buttons.
What's a small opera company to do? How can we compete at this level. Granted the Met HD is prime time Saturday at 1:00pm and we are performing Friday evening and Sunday afternoon, so there is no conflict of date or time. I forgot to add. Our performance of La Bohème runs a little over two hours including one intermission. The Donizetti (according to the on-line information) runs 4 hours and 20 minutes.
But the end of the story goes like this:
"Sorry! I cannot go to an opera twice in one weekend. It is too costly and I don't have time in my busy schedule to attend two productions the same weekend."
Let's take my predicament a bit further. What is live theater? If you are sitting in a theater, watching a streaming performance, that is occurring somewhere else on the planet at the same time, are you really experiencing live theater? If you are sitting at home, watching something on Netflix, cable, or on your computer, is it the same as sitting somewhere else and doing the same thing?
What are you going to do this coming weekend? You have lots of choices. As an operaphile, I hope you watch at least one opera this weekend. As a producer of live theatre, I hope you get out of your house and see something live and in person. As the general director of Longwood Opera, I hope you attend our performance of La Bohème at Christ Episcopal Church in Needham on Friday at 8:00pm or Sunday at 2:30pm. This just might be one of your last chances to see local, live opera performed by local, living young singers. This unique experience is priceless.