Few of us Okies, regardless of how much we adore opera, will have the opportunity to sit in Milan's La Scala opera house and watch Daniel Barenboim conduct Jonas Kaufmann, Erwin Schrott, Adriana Damata and Anita Rachvelishvili in Georges Bizet's Carmen.
Luckily for us, though, through the magic of technology, we can watch Carmen being performed in La Scala from the cozy seats of Tulsa's independent movie theater, Circle Cinema.
Circle, at 12 S. Lewis, is one of 24 theaters nationwide presenting live streaming video of operas at La Scala and Barcelona's Gran Teatre. The series begins with Carmen on Monday, Dec. 7.
The programs are presented by Emerging Pictures: Opera in Cinema, which, after experiencing success with its streaming presentation of operas in cinematic theaters in Europe, decided to expand the program to the U.S. for the 2009-2010 season.
The operas are streamed to the theaters via high-definition satellite in more than 21 countries worldwide. This marks the third year for Emerging Pictures' Opera in Cinema.
In addition to the live broadcasts, this season also features live HD recordings from other prestigious theaters and opera houses, such as Valencia's Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, St. Petersburg's Mariinsky Theater, the Salzburg Festival and more. Circle Cinema will present those recordings as well.
Tulsa Opera presented Carmen, starring Grace Echauri, Scott Piper, Donita Volkwijn, Carlos Archuleta, Christine Steyer, Jennifer Holloway and Jeffrey Buchman and conducted by Kostis Protopapas, TO's artistic director, in 2007, but if you didn't get to see their version (which was fantastic), then you should count yourself lucky to have this second opportunity.
Carmen is one of the classic tragic operas, telling the story of a gypsy worker in a cigarette factory who finds herself torn between two lovers.
Set in Seville and based on a book by the same name, Bizet's masterpiece was initially a flop, scorned by critics as vulgar and outlandish. It didn't find success until after the composer's death.
In an interview prior to Tulsa Opera's presentation of Carmen, Protopapas said, "Even if you don't go to the opera all that much or have never been to the opera, you'll recognize a lot of the tunes. It's accessible. You can love the music without having a lot of classical training."
Adding to the show's accessibility is the price of tickets at the Circle's showing. While tickets to La Scala can cost up to $3,200, tickets to Monday night's event are only $25.
The remaining Opera in Cinema lineup includes:
Verdi's Il Trovatore, streaming from the Gran Teatre del Liceu, conducted by Marco Armiliato, directed by Gilbert Deflo and starring Fiorenza Cedolins and Marco Berti, on Tuesday, Dec. 22;
Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail (The Abduction from the Seraglio), streaming from the Gran Teatre del Liceu, conducted by Ivor Bolton, directed by Christof Loy and starring Diana Damrau, Wednesday, April 21, 2010;
Verdi's Simon Boccanegra, streaming from Teatro alla Scala, conducted by Daniel Barenboim, directed by Federico Tiezzi and starring Plácido Domingo, Ferruccio Furlanetto, in April of 2010 (date to be announced);
Wagner's Das Rheingold, streaming from La Scala, conducted by Daniel Barenboim, directed by Guy Cassiers and starring René Pape, in May of 2010 (date to be announced); and
Tchaikovsky's The Queen of Spades, streaming from the Gran Teatre del Liceu, conducted by Michael Boder, directed by Gilbert Deflo and starring Ben Heppner, Thursday, July 1, 2010.
For more information about Monday's program and to get tickets, call the Circle Cinema at 592-3456 or go to circlecinema.com.
Friday, Dec. 4 marks the Brady Arts District's First Friday Art Crawl, where the galleries operating in the Brady District host simultaneous opening receptions for new exhibitions.
Tulsa Artists' Coalition Gallery, 9 E. Brady, presents "Frost on Winter: A Juried Art Exhibit," resulting from a call to artists for work inspired by Robert Frost poems.
According to Edward Main, who organized the exhibit, the show came about through a discussion of whether TAC should host a holiday-themed exhibit.
"I suggested that we do a winter theme based on the poetry of Robert Frost," Main said. "We have done this 'art inspired by poetry' approach in the past with the 'Prufrock Challenge,' where artists were asked to submit work inspired by T.S. Eliot's 'The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock.' It was quite successful."
Cash prizes will be awarded to artists whose works are chosen for "best in show," "jurors' choice" and "people's choice."
Friday's opening reception begins at 6pm, and the exhibit hangs through Jan. 2. Both the exhibit and reception are free and open to the public.
Also on Brady, Tulsa Glassblowing Studio will offer live glassblowing demonstrations and hand-blown glass ornaments and other artworks for sale.
At 200 W. Archer St., Dos Rios Pottery at Floating World Gallery Studios will offer exhibitions of new pottery by Frank Campbell and Barbara Buell and paintings by Thomas Conrad, Daniel Gulick Jr. and Barbara Buell. The work will be on display both Friday and Saturday from 11am to 6pm.
Although it's not technically in the Brady District (Greenwood, rather), Living Arts will also participate, opening "4 Elements" and "Whispering Houses."
"4 Elements" presents the work of four Oklahoma artists who, through different media, translate natural elements into works of art.
Mel Cornshucker, a clay artist; Bill Derrevere, who works in metal; Ron Fleming, a wood artist; and Susan Moss Sullivan, a fiber artist, will display work in an exhibit curated by Living Arts' artistic director Steve Liggett.
In a curator's statement, Liggett said, "The '4 Elements' exhibit brings together four of Oklahoma's finest artist/craftsmen. They work with four diverse elements just as artists have for hundreds of years: wood, fiber, clay and metals.
"The difference is that they are all contemporary artists working within their focused medium and keeping their standards high but with the freedom of including other media to best communicate their ideas."
Also on display will be Tunde Darvay's "Whispering Houses," an exhibition of paintings the artist, who spent his childhood in Transylvania, said "(tell) a curious story about me, about love or about everyday life in general."
"I also take inspiration from my milieu, movies, books, poems and Hungarian folk tales," the artist writes in a statement. "But sometimes I just simply make up the story myself."
Both exhibits open at Living Arts at 5pm Friday and hang through Dec. 19. For more information, including gallery hours, go to www.livingarts.org.
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