December 1 & 2, 2012 – Manila (Mandaluyong City), Philippines
LA CLEMENZA DI TITO (Mozart)
Harry Bicket; Lucy Crowe, Barbara Frittoli, Elīna Garanča,
Kate Lindsey, Giuseppe Filianoti, Oren Gradus
– and historic casts of 1995 and 2005, courtesy of Met Opera on Demand
As La Clemenza di Tito unfurls in New York on the afternoon of Saturday December 1, it is the middle of the night Sunday in Manila. Brent and I are guests of the Philippine College of Surgeons, and have had a lovely stopover in Honolulu en route from San Diego to the most densely populated city in the world. (Would anyone have guessed that Manila somehow contains 111,000 persons per square mile, as compared to 26,000 for New York City?)
We lost nearly all of December 1 somewhere west of Hawaii, in ferocious headwinds, over the zig-zagging International Dateline. But now here we are, on the 12th floor of the elegant Shangri-La Hotel, with a view of countless cranes and spires and a full orange moon.
Worldwide, the reach of Live in HD is huge. The transmissions (which began in the Met’s 2006-07 season in the US and Canada, along with Scandinavia, Germany, the UK and Japan) now reach 64 countries and 3 million viewers in venues ranging from the very small (see the Lexi Cinema, Kensal Rise) to the vast Auditorio Nacional in Mexico City, with more than 6,000 seats. Newly enrolled for 2012-13 are Ecuador, Guatemala, and Jamaica in this hemisphere; and India, Madagascar, Montenegro and Serbia, and Qatar to the east.
Alas, though there are vibrant things going on in these 7000 Philippine Islands, Live in HD is not one of them – not yet! But all is not lost. Brent and I have downloaded the new Met Opera on Demand iPad app, which gives us access to hundreds of Met recordings.
So now, we are leisurely comparing productions of La Clemenza di Tito conducted twenty years apart by the great James Levine, with two famous mezzos as the young Roman patrician Sesto: first Tatiana Troyanos “in one of her greatest performances” [Jan 12 1985] and then the “renowned” Anne Sophie von Otter [May 7 2005].
All this in preparation for the dazzling Elīna Garanča in the Met HD Encore Performance of Wednesday, December 19, back home in San Diego. Of which, more later.
If your town is not yet within the Met’s worldwide HD distribution network, or if you want these glorious transmissions closer by, your local cinema operator can apply online at http://www.metoperafamily.org/metopera/broadcast/hd_events_participate.aspx.