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ENO upstages ROH in the race to screen live 3D opera

13 January 2011, London, UK

Soprano Claire Rutter
Soprano Claire Rutter(Photo: Joe Low)

English National Opera has announced a renewed partnership with broadcasting and media giant Sky. The collaboration begins on 23 February with what is claimed to be opera’s first ‘quadcast’, featuring the first live broadcast of an opera in 3D.

The quadcast of Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia, staged for ENO by the film director Mike Figgis, will be screened on Sky Arts 2 and Sky 3D as well as selected cinemas around the world.

The new production features British soprano Claire Rutter in the title role, with Paul Daniel conducting

Meanwhile, the Royal Opera House’s much-heralded 3D film version of Carmen, originally planned for release last autumn, is now due to be premiered on 5 March in over 2,000 participating cinemas worldwide. However, it seems that the race to put 3D opera before the public will be won by ENO, though many industry commentators (including The Met’s Peter Gelb, one of the architects of opera in cinema), have expressed reservations about the 3D format in the context of opera.

“Opera helps us to capture a niche audience in an industry that’s trying to shake off its dependence on Hollywood,” says Lyn Goleby, managing director of the independent group Picture House Cinemas. “But we’d like to sell it as a stylish, civilised experience that captures the something of ambience of actually being in an opera house. Having to wear chunky 3D glasses might not entirely fit with this.”

An interview with Claire Rutter about her preparations for the role of Lucrezia appears in the Jan/Feb 2011 issue of Opera Now - click here to subscribe now.


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