Only one New York cinema shows Covent Garden live opera

Only one New York cinema shows Covent Garden live opera


norman lebrecht

September 28, 2016

… and that’s way out in Forest Hills, according to a sharp-eyed reader.

Has Peter Gelb signed all other big screens in the city to exclusivity deals?

Here’s the defeated screening announcement from the ROH.




  • Heath says:

    I live next door to Forest Hills, and I didn’t even know about this!

  • Ken J. says:

    For perhaps two years around 2008-2009, the distributor Emerging Pictures had a program called “Opera in Cinema” which brought recorded shows from a variety of European houses, including Covent Garden and La Scala, to Jackson, Michigan, a small town not far from me. Unfortunately I never saw more than 25 people in the audience for these fabulous shows.

    The movie theater in Jackson dropped the series around 2010 or 2011, and then Emerging Pictures dropped its performance-arts series to focus on independent film, and now the Emerging Pictures website looks to have disappeared sometime this year (last Google cache from July 2016).

    My vague understanding is that the Metropolitan Opera’s HD Live series has contractually locked up its theaters. Royal Opera House has recently divided its HD ballet offerings from its HD operas, and in the USA the ballets went to Fathom Entertainment (the Met’s HD Live distributor) for a few seasons.

    Royal Opera House opera screenings have been sighted at one theater in Metro Detroit, but Sunday morning showtimes don’t work for me. No other theaters are known within a two hour driving radius.

    I wish I could see more styles of opera presentation, but outside of DVD’s, most Americans are locked to the Met.

  • Marg says:

    On returning from the US to live in Sydney I was not only pleased to see the Met HD operas screened (and more than twice which is what was on offer in my US city) but also the Paris Opera and Covent Garden. Occasionally La Scala. Contary to Ken J’s observations on attendance in 2008-09, ours are attended by the same sized audience as for the Met – very popular, and each opera is shown in approximately 5 city venues and usually three or four times over the week. So we are well served.

    • laurie nash says:

      you are most fortunate. on the east coast of the US, the Royal Opera House HD transmissions are very sparse. There is only one theater in New York City – in Queens – where the subway does not run on weekends due to construction. So no Norma for us. And hardly any theaters at all from the northeast to the mid-Atlantic. Just looked at the ROH map.

      there are two clips from Norma on youtube. it looks wonderful.

      such a shame. and so unfair

  • Heath says:

    Correction: It will be in Kew Gardens, not Forest Hills. Just checked my local theater.

  • V.Lind says:

    The only one I could find in Canada appears to be at something called The University of Regina Public Library, which is not even a credible-sounding institution. Public libraries are usually civic affairs in this country, and university libraries are rarely if ever open to the public or named accordingly. (Doesn’t mean they can;t hold public events, but as I say the name is questionable).

    Perfectly cultural little city, Regina, especially for one in the middle of the prairies (dandy orchestra, some lively theatre), but Not Handy for any of the metropolitan cities of this vast country, let alone the ones where live opera is produced.

  • herrera says:

    Forest Hills is not “way out” there for people who live closer to … Forest Hills! A whole lot opera goers, including the Met musicians and staff, commute into the little island of Manhattan, via bridges and tunnels. Sorry, you people who think New York cultural life (events and audience) must be contained between 86th and 42nd Streets, between Broadway and Fifth Avenue.

    Better get used to it when the New York Philharmonic becomes homeless during renovations and must migrate around New York City and, gasp, all of its FIVE boroughs.

    • laurie says:

      You clearly missed the point which is that there is ONLY ONE theater showing the magnificent productions of the Royal Opera House in a city of eight million people. No theater in New Jersey and no theater in Connecticut. The sarcasm about Manhattan centric people is misplaced and in any case irrelevant to Mr. Lebrecht’s post.

  • Steve says:

    The Met does indeed have an “exclusivity” contract. San Francisco Opera has recorded videos during the last several years of some splendid (and in many cases the only professional videos) performances – Moby Dick being one. They have also recorded the only complete version of a stage production of Porgy and Bess available on video.
    Can any of these performances be seen in any theatre where Met Opera videos are shown? A resounding NO!! This certainly does not further the cause of opera on the whole – which would certainly benefit the Met as well as other opera companies (Oh yes, they DO exist).
    The Met keeps crying “broke” – yet it continues to mount huge, lavish, expensive, overblown productions full of unpredictable mechanics. Smaller is often better. Let the audience come to you – don’t reach out too far to entice them.
    There are indeed other major opera companies in America. Instead of competing with each other, the Met and all other opera companies should cooperate and join forces with each other. This will definitely bring more people to the opera houses, to the movie theatres, and to purchasing more videos.

  • Richard says:

    What does the Met fear in exposing the public what is going on elsewhere? Maybe that things are being done better elsewhere.

  • monalisa says:

    Yes the University of Regina Library certainly seems to be an unlikely place to the ONLY location in all of Canada to have locked up the ROH. Even assuming the Met lock on major cities, what’s happened to the Royal Ballet screenings? Those were uncoupled and could be seen as part of a series with the Bolshoi Ballet. Somehow the Bolshoi screenings have survived but the Royal Ballet is also MIA. The whole thing is disgraceful.