While seeing the opera in person cannot be replaced, even on a huge movie theater screen, some would argue that the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD series offers a view of the action, even those in the finest seats could never have. The first showing of Giuseppe Verdi’s beloved La Traviata in this format gave viewers an up-close look at the faces and sets, and easy to read subtitles, during the Saturday, December 15 matinee at the Regal Hampton Bays 5 Cinema. For those who missed it, the opera returns to the cinema for an encore performance this Wednesday, December 19 at 6:30 p.m.
The show is well worth watching, but be warned: It lasts a full 3.5 hours and, unlike the opera house, there’s really nowhere to go during the two intermissions that usually allow audiences a walk around, and even a cocktail, between acts.
Verdi’s tragic tale, tells the story of a famous courtesan, Violetta Valéry (performed by the talented diva Diana Damrau) who is not well and knows her death isn’t far away. She’s resigned herself to live a life of endless pleasures but no love or real meaning, until, that is, she meets young Alfredo Germont (Juan Diego Flórez), who declares his love. Violetta struggles to accept such a thing in her life, but eventually she agrees to give up the high life of parties and finery to live out her life by his side. The tragedy comes when the besotted lovers are split apart by Alfredo’s father Germont (Quinn Kelsey), who cannot have a fallen woman shaming his family’s reputation—specifically his “pure” daughter, who is to be married. The final act brings it all to a sad but heartfelt conclusion.
Conductor and Metropolitan Opera Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin leads the music and, with input from his cast, shapes the vision of this classic story. During one intermission, a short documentary (available to watch at top of this page) brings the audience into Nézet-Séguin’s process as he works with Damrau—called “the Meryl Streep of opera”—and the orchestra to find the best approach to Verdi’s words and music. For opera neophytes, it’s quite illuminating.
Visit fathomevents.com for tickets to Wednesday’s encore of La Traviata at the Regal 5 Cinema (119 W. Montauk Highway) in Hampton Bays.
La Traviata is part of the Met’s 13th season of live movie theater transmissions, which included 10 productions in total. The remaining productions continue through May of 2019. Upcoming installments include Georges Bizet’s Carmen and Wagner’s Die Walküre, among others.
Find more schedule and ticket information at metopera.org/season/in-cinemas.