Last week the Civic Theatre opened our 2015-16 Art on Screen series with Opera for Everyone: The Mimi Trilogy, featuring Puccini’s La Boheme and two modern adaptations of the classic story, Rent and Moulin Rouge. The goal of Opera for Everyone is to give people a chance to try out opera for the first time, and of course, welcome our existing opera audiences to an exciting new season of great opera on film.
The Royal Opera House films are truly outstanding — these are opulent, professional productions featuring the world’s greatest contemporary opera singers. And in the tradition of the form, the sets and costumes are huge and over the top. One recent article I read called opera “Broadway on Steroids,” referencing bigger voices, casts, design and the extravagance of opera venues as well.
The big screen gives you a sense of the grandeur of the London venue, and the camera angles give you a better view than most in-person seats would afford. And then there is the crystal-clear sound in our theatre, which truly ensures an exceptional experience when it comes to opera.
Still not so sure about opera this year? How are these for some Oscar-worthy plots:
A father is sadistically forced to shoot an apple that is sitting on top of his son’s head as a liberating uprising of the Swiss takes place against the Austrian occupation.
A betrothed couple must outwit the count who is getting in the way of their true love, and do so through a notoriously complex plot that draws in the entire family.
In a pair of dark tales of passionate love that sours to violent jealousy, seduction and infidelity lead to a deadly duel, and jealous spying provokes an act of murder.
A glamourous Parisian courtesan sacrifices all for love.
A Tsar comes to power by murdering the 90-year-old heir to the throne, only to be driven to hallucinations and death by an imposter playing the deceased nearly-monarch.
Star-crossed lovers are doomed through forgery and the appearance of infidelity.
What is impossible to relay is the music or the drama to be experienced in these operas. If you have seen any Looney Tunes or The Fifth Element, you will find you are familiar with some of these operas, but those pieces are just the beginning. There is so much more to experience.
Our next opera is Guillaume Tell on Sept. 16. Tickets are available online at civictheatre.ca, and for the first time we are offering a subscription for our opera, dance and exhibition on screen, offering a great discount for people who are keen to see six or more of these films.
Eleanor Stacey is the executive director of the Nelson Civic Theatre Society.