EDITORIAL: Live Opera? Here In the Sandhills?
Not everyone in Moore County may be wild about sitting through a three-hour live Metropolitan Opera simulcast, waiting for the fat lady to sing.
But those who put great store about being able to do just that are thrilled about the prospect that it will soon be possible to indulge themselves in their favorite cultural pastime on Saturday afternoons at the Sunrise Theater in downtown Southern Pines, beginning in October with "Tosca."
And other segments of local society with different interests should be intrigued about this: Though opera is the immediate purpose for installing $40,000 worth of digital satellite reception and video projection gear, that equipment will also be available for other real-time, high-definition presentations in the future, possibly ranging from rock concerts to sporting events.
The wider community thus owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to the Sunrise Preservation Group (SPG), its president, John Rudd, and others for opening wide such a splendid, state-of-the-art window on the world. Who knows what all we'll eventually be able to experience through that high-tech portal? And we'll benefit from a general upgrade of the theater's interior to boot.
In contracting with New York's Met to present "Live in High Definition" performances on nine Saturdays next season, SPG has put little Moore County in the same league with only four other North Carolina cities: Raleigh, Charlotte, Asheville and Concord. This is pretty exclusive company to be in, and it reflects the fact that our cosmopolitan community, though smaller than those others, is coming to be respected as an up-and-coming venue for the arts. We can all take pride in that.
Though it costs $150 to attend a single opera in person at the Met in New York, opera buffs will be able to take in the entire season here for about the same amount: $160. Or -- assuming individual seats are left over after the season tickets are sold, it will be possible to pick and choose among the other operas for $20 apiece.
Folks here will have better seats than most of those in New York, too. At the same moment when audience members sitting in the second balcony at the Met are straining to see, those watching here will be observing every detail close-up. There will also be easy-to-read supra titles translating the lyrics for those who don't happen to be fluent in Italian or German.
All in all, pretty high cotton. Let's make the most of it.
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