Opera in HD

Sign Up Now for Tickets to Seattle Opera’s Free Madama Butterfly Simulcast

Those 8,000 seats will go quickly.

By Laura Dannen April 9, 2012

Photo: Courtesy Patricia Racette, ©Marty Sohl, Metropolitan Opera, 2009

To close its 48th season, Seattle Opera will rely on the young love of 15-year-old geisha Cio-Cio-San, the “delicate butterfly” who falls for a dashing U.S. Naval officer, Lieutenant Pinkerton, in Madama Butterfly. Puccini’s tragedy is still wildly popular—and a great introduction for opera neophytes. Seattle Opera plans to simulcast opening night of the opera in HD at KeyArena, where roughly 8,000 people can view the production on a 50′ × 80′ screen…for free. All you have to do is sign up online.

Priority seating registration opened at 9am this morning at seattleopera.org/keysimulcast. UPDATED 5/3/12. Reservations are now closed; limited walk-up available. As we reported in our Spring Arts Preview, this broadcast will be the company’s first foray into simulcasting, which has proved to be a sort of modern miracle for high art. The Metropolitan Opera set the standard six years ago under its big-spending new general manager Peter Gelb, investing in costly HD cameras to broadcast live performances to movie theaters worldwide. By democratizing opera, The Met: Live in HD grossed $11 million at the box office in 2010. Seattle Opera doesn’t have simulcast plans beyond Butterfly, but representatives acknowledge it could expand its audience exponentially, especially after newcomers hear soprano Patricia Racette sing the title role. The Met regular makes her Seattle debut in a part she now owns; her Butterfly is more emotionally complex, less porcelain doll, the way Puccini intended her to be. “Cio-Cio-San is an Italian woman in a kimono…. Asian restraint has nothing to do with this character,” said SO general director Speight Jenkins.

Madama Butterfly simulcast
May 5 @ 7:30pm, KeyArena, free

Madama Butterfly
May 5–19, McCaw Hall, $25–$241

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