New York's Met gets applause in Poland

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A visit to New York's Metropolitan is a dream of all opera fans but if you a Polish music lover, until now you had to fly there to to get a taste of a Met performance. But not any more - The Met has come to Poland - not on tour of course but as live, high-definition broadcast performances.

The series of transmissions of Met productions relayed to movie theatres across America and around the world was launched in the previous season. It proved a huge box office success, attracting an audience of over 320,000. Last autumn the Met launched its second season of such transmissions, this time with eight broadcasts, two more than in the last season.

So far the transmissions were available in Australia, Canada, Japan and ten European countries, including Austria and the Czech Republic. Poland has just joined the club, and the place which is now a must for Polish opera lovers is Łodz in central Poland. Verdi’s ‘Macbeth’, in a new production conducted by James Levine, attracted a capacity crowd to the city’s Arthur Rubinstein Philharmonic Hall. The Met in Lodz is the fruit of efforts by the Managing Director of Łodz Philharmonic Andrzej Sułek. He thinks this is a great event for the entire Polish musical life.

‘It’s the first time in Poland that we can show live in high definition on a big screen a Met performance in real time. So it’s a new value in Polish musical life. Seeing what’s going on at our box office I can already say that it’s a big success.’

Five more star-studded productions are planned for this season in Łódź, including Puccini’s ‘Manon Lescaut’ and ‘La Boheme’, and Wagner’s ‘Tristan and Isolde’.

For Andrzej Sułek, the Met project is highly important in his efforts to raise the prestige of the Philharmonic and to attract more people to the regular series of symphonic concerts.

‘My philosophy of managing a philharmonic hall these days is to broaden our field of activity. We must show that classical music and opera is a living thing, not only in the traditional shape of concerts which is the mainstream of our activity but also in the new media, in the new field of being connected with the bigger world and the Metropolitan Opera is the biggest world in music – ands if you want to be compared you must be compared with the best.’

The Philharmonic Hall in Łódz hopes to invite some Metropolitan Opera stars to perform in the city. Poland’s up-and-coming soprano Aleksandra Kurzak, who made her successful Met debut three years ago, has already confirmed her visit.