Letter to Wansteadium: Attention, wannabe culture vultures

Wansteadium reader Marian Temple (whose gardening exploits we covered here) writes:

This must be the best kept secret though why anyone would want to keep it secret is beyond me. DID YOU KNOW that our local Odeon cinema now shows all sorts of interesting stuff live from the National Theatre, the Royal Opera House, the Metropolitan Opera House in New York and the Royal Ballet? Phew!

Ticket prices range from £10 to £20ish, a fraction of the price you’d have to pay to be there at the theatre, not to mention the air fare to New York.
On the Menu until June are
Royal Opera House
Mon 29 April 19.15 Nabucco
Mon 27 May 18.45 La Donna Del Lago
Mon 24 June 19.15 Gloriana – Benjamin Britton
Royal Ballet
Thurs 28 March 19.15 Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
The National Theatre
Thurs 23 March 19.00 Alan Bennet’s “People”
Thurs 16 May 10.00 “This House”
New York Met Opera House
Sat 2 March 17.00 Wagna’s “Parsifal (whoops! A long one 5hrs 40 mins – take your sandwiches)
Sat 16 March 16.00 Francesca Da Rimini
Sat 27 April 17.00 Handel’s GiulioCesare (Julius Caesar to you andme)

Live does mean live so you are sharing the experience with people sitting in cinemas all over the world with the added bonus that if somebody faints on stage, you’re going to see it. On second thoughts, maybe that’s not a bonus. A definite bonus though is that you have a chance to see stuff that’s booked up till the end of the run like Alan Bennet’s play “People”. The other thing is that you get so much more than just the performance.

I don’t know a lot about opera and I’ve always been put off by the price. Local live broadcast gives me a chance to sample more. I was especially interested in operas I’d never heard of. So it was that I went to see Maria Stuarda which turns out to be by Donazetti a vaguely familiar name.

Maria Stuarda is Italian for Mary Stewart, Mary Queen of Scots and the opera was based on the tussle between her and Queen Elizabeth the First. With such characters, the drama’s guaranteed. I was given with my ticket a sheet of info. with the plot and what happens in each scene so I was fine with that. The opera was in Italian but with subtitles so that was ok too. We started with an interview with the director. Then had a look to see the orchestra tuning up in the orchestra pit. There was a brief and enlightening conversation with the costume designer. Then the opera began. Wonderful music, soaring voices, fabulous stage sets, I was hooked! During the interval, there were more interviews with the main singers (you’d think they’d need a rest!)

All of this, SO interesting, giving you a real feeling for how the production had been put together. It was a wonderful experience for me and one that I shared with eleven other people. That’s right, there were just twelve of us in the cinema to see such a wonderful performance. Now why would the audience be so thin? It might just be because the publicity the Odeon is putting out for these live broadcasts is pretty thin. I think it is on their website but not very easy to find (you have to fight your way through popcorn offers first). How sad for our community if we missed out on having such world class productions just a short bus ride away for the lack of publicity. If we don’t use it, we’re likely to lose it. We must let the Odeon know
that we really do want this stuff. Their telephone no for booking is 0781 2244 007.