Operas to Sing On Demand in High-Def


The opera will sing again on pay-per-view.

Sixteen years after Cablevision Systems and NBC distributed the first PPV opera event, In Demand is teaming with the Metropolitan Opera to offer eight, high-definition performances from the Met on PPV and video on demand, beginning in January.

The HD, subtitled operatic performances will air on pay-per-view and video on demand 30 days after initially running in numerous digitally enhanced movie theaters around the world, according to Met general manager Peter Gelb. In Demand will begin its coverage on Jan. 16 with the Met’s acclaimed production of Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, starring Anna Netrebko and Roberto Alagna and conducted by Plácido Domingo. Each of the eight shows will retail for a suggested $9.95.

“There are a lot of opera fans, but people don’t necessarily have the ability to come to New York and go to the Met,” said In Demand Networks CEO Robert Jacobson. “So the next best thing is to bring the Met to your home.”

Gelb said its theatrical opera presentations have drawn a very loyal following, adding that its upcoming opera theatrical airings are expected to attract about 1 million viewers.

“We know the opera audience is voracious — we’ve proven it with the movie experience,” he said. “It’s really a question of making sure they know it’s out there.”

The Met was involved in the first opera event ever offered on PPV, teaming with Cablevision Systems and NBC to offer the 1991 event celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Metropolitan Opera. Gelb said the advancement of digital technology and high-definition, as well as the TV exclusive nature of the performances should make the return of opera to PPV a success.