Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Sacrilege in the cinema

As part of the cinema-going experience, I love trailers but I was surprised at the Odeon Covent Garden on the weekend that not a single one of the - many - previews was for a film. Instead they were for performances of classical music, ballet (Giselle, tonight) and opera (Carmen) - the first two in 3D (picture Sir Simon Rattle stabbing his baton at the camera, the first violin bowing frantically and just wait for the trombone to come stabbing out of the screen!).

I became aware of this trend with the HD simulcasts of performances from the New York Met, and it has come closer to home, in London, with screenings from the National Theatre, most recently of Danny Boyle's production of Frankenstein, for instance. The current Curzon cinemas programme features three pages of such events, with prices ranging from £12.50, for members, to £37.50, for the royal box at Curzon Mayfair.

Some of these productions are long - Richard Wagner's Die Walküre, with Deborah Voigt, Jonas Kaufmann and Bryn Terfel, is 330 minutes with interval - and while we can't all afford to travel abroad for a night at the opera, many of these prices are comparable with booking the live theatre experience. If you include the exhorbitant fee the Odeon charges for refreshments, that ticket to New York doesn't seem so out of reach after all.

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