Monday, February 25, 2008

Head, Wall, Bang

San Francisco Opera's new digital cinema broadcasts will not be available in San Francisco or Oakland or Marin or the Peninsula or the South Bay. Or Los Angeles!

Here are the theaters showing the programs:
  • Cinemawest Boulevard, Petaluma Petaluma CA
  • Cinemawest Livermore Livermore CA
  • Cinemawest Fairfax Fairfax CA
  • Cinemawest Fortuna Fortuna CA
  • Cinemawest Angels's Camp Angels Camp CA
  • Cinemawest Sonoma Cinemas Sonoma CA
  • Cinemawest Sebastopol Sebastopol CA
  • Galaxy Riverbank, Riverbank CA
  • UltraStar Flower Hill 4 Del Mar CA
  • UltraStar Mission Valley San Diego CA
More details here.


Henry Holland said...

As the kids today would text:


I mean, the season is crap, so it doesn't matter to me anyway that there's no Los Angeles showing, but that's some damn strange scheduling.

Lisa Hirsch said...

The first bunch of broadcasts, though are for this pastseason. SFO's broadcasts are not like, unlike the Met's. Presumably they're in post-production someplace. The first will be Rondine.

Henry Holland said...

Woops, I should actually read the press release!

Now it makes a little more sense: do it in theatres in suburban Modesto where they might not have had a chance to go to the production in the house.

Anonymous said...

They are also being shown in two theaters in the Twin Cities. I did see DG live, but I am curious about the others, especially Patricia Racette in Madama Butterfly. Was La Rondine not good?

pjwv said...

Did you ever hear any reason why these are being shown in movie theaters at all, since they're not live? It makes no sense to me, but what do I know. I assume there's some sort of market research on this -- but once again, what do I know? I'll wait for any possible DVD releases.

Anonymous, in my opinion Rondine was very well done, though a peculiar and flawed opera. If you like Gheorgiu or have any interest in the work, it's well worth seeing.

pjwv said...

Another point about the theaters chosen -- when the Met started its live broadcasts, their theater choices seemed odd to me until I realized they could only use certain theaters with the appropriate digital equipment -- maybe that's behind the peculiar omissions here, but I don't see why SFO would need fancier technology than the Met. Maybe it's like blacking out football games if they're not sold out. But these are past season shows. . . . ah, it makes no sense to me!

winpal said...

I was aware of the limitations in participating theaters, and sent an email complaint to SFO. One of their marketing assistants sent me this reply earlier today. Apparently they are using some fancier digital technology than the Met. Who would have thought Angels Camp was more digitally advanced than Emeryville?!

On behalf of Marcia Lazer, our Director of Marketing, thank you for your note concerning the San Francisco Opera’s presentation by The Bigger Picture. We – and they -- agree with you, and this is not a cynical move on our part. It is of greatest import to us to have these operas seen by as many people as possible in the Bay Area, but unfortunately, the lack of local screenings is not by design but by circumstance. They have not yet been able to book a theatre in San Francisco proper that has the appropriate digital format.

Please do keep on checking the website, as they will continue to expand the network of screens as they become available – hopefully before our first screenings in March.

I will forward your note to them to make sure they know people are watching and waiting!

We’re grateful for your interest and hope you will be able to see us on a screen near you very soon!

So let them know how you feel!

Lisa Hirsch said...

Gockley made a big deal out of how the SFO technology really is fancier than what the Met uses. The operas will also be more heavily edited, since they're not on-the-fly broadcasts, but films of productions.

winpal, thanks for the email! And, yeah, who knew?

About Rondine, I agree that it's peculiar and flawed. I was in seats where most of the singers were less audible than I would have expected. I could hear Didyk fine, but if you'd asked I'd've said Gheorghiu has a pretty small voice.

Racette's Butterfly was magnificent, the whole performance as close to perfection as I expect to ever hear. Great singing from all four principals, great conducting, beautiful acting.

Henry Holland said...

Winpal, thanks for the detective work.

I like Rondine, I think the main problem with it is that there's really nothing at stake for Magda; the obvious model, Violetta, really was in a life-and-death situation. Whether Magda ends up in Monte Carlo or the Cote d'Azur somewhere isn't really as compelling.

I went to a Long Beach Opera performance of it in the 90's and we demanded --and got-- a repeat of the ensemble at the end of the second act, which I think is one of the very best things Puccini ever wrote.