Odds improve for opera showings

Fort Lewis College is working to secure an agreement to begin screening The Met: Live in HD simulcasts in time for the Oct. 13 season opener of Donizetti’s “L’Elisir d’Amore,” starring Anna Netrebko as Adina. Enlarge photo

Nick Heavican/Met Opera

Fort Lewis College is working to secure an agreement to begin screening The Met: Live in HD simulcasts in time for the Oct. 13 season opener of Donizetti’s “L’Elisir d’Amore,” starring Anna Netrebko as Adina.

If all goes well, Durango’s opera lovers will be watching when The Met: Live in HD season opens Oct. 13.

“It is realistic. I can’t put a percentage on it, but there’s a very strong possibility that it’s going to happen,” said Charles Leslie, director of the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College.

Acting on the request of a local coalition of fans, Leslie has been working for several months toward an agreement between the college and the New York opera company to air the opera simulcasts. Earlier this year, the Allen Theatre chain bought two local cinemas from Storyteller Theatres and opted to continue the partnership with Fathom Events, which contracts with movie theaters to bring The Met performances to big screens nationwide.

Leslie said the Concert Hall is too big to house the twice-monthly showings, so instead they would be shown in the Vallecito Room of the Student Union. The college installed a high-definition projector and surround-sound system in the room during the building’s recent renovations, which allows it to meet the Met’s technological broadcast standard requirements.

Other obstacles that have been or soon will be overcome involve the legal entanglements of dealing with a state agency such as Fort Lewis College. In an e-mail to the local group of opera fans, Leslie wrote, “The Metropolitan Opera has agreed that we may present the live broadcasts and has sent an agreement that we will meet all of their requirements. As a state agency, any agreement with the college must meet state guidelines, so we are working out those details so each party’s requirements can be met.”

The final hurdle will be buyingthe equipment necessary to receive the Met’s HD broadcasts. The cost would be absorbed by the Concert Hall, which is an auxiliary entity of the college and operates under an independent budget.

If contracts are finalized, Leslie said individual tickets and season packages for all 12 2012-13 season simulcasts probably will go on sale in two or three weeks.

ted@durangoherald.com