The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Movie theaters bring sold-out matinee nights at the opera

The box office at the AMC Theater in Woodland Hills was flourishing with people of all ages looking to purchase tickets for a night at the opera. A man stood in front of the box office quietly holding a sign that simply read: “I need one ticket to the Magic Flute.”

The Metropolitan Opera in New York City is offering a series of sold-out Saturday matinee live performances in high definition and surround sound streaming to theaters around the country.

Ticket scalpers are usually an uncommon sight at movie theaters but this may change if the Jan. 23 showing in Woodland Hills was any indication of future demand.

People packed the theater salon for a showing of Amadeus Mozart’s classic opera “The Magic Flute,” which was a rebroadcast of a Dec. 30 high definition simulcast from the Metropolitan Opera. Sold-out performances at the opera house have screened at movie theaters around the United States, as well as internationally.

True highbrow cultural offerings in the suburbs seem to be few and far between, as the movie theater is one of the few available choices for a night’s entertainment outside the downtown Los Angeles area. In an effort to draw in new theatergoers, movie theater operators are beginning to carry fare other than motion pictures.

The Woodland Hills AMC theater anticipates more requests for movie screen simulcasts, which could be used for a number of different cultural events, according to AMC manager Albert Garcia.

As odd as it may seem, the idea to watch opera at a movie theater is catching on. The recent showing of “The Magic Flute” at the Woodland Hills AMC sold out well in advance.

“We sold out within five days,” Garcia said.

Longtime opera fan John Sturgeon was able to purchase tickets ahead of time, only after he learned of the show through spam e-mails.

“I bought my grandniece tickets to see ‘The Magic Flute’ (performed) in German and I ended up with all of this spam,” Sturgeon said.

As people stood in line for popcorn and sodas, Teresa Camarillo of Ojai, along with granddaughter Jasey May Cortez, 4, waited outside in excitement, hoping to score tickets to the sold-out show.

As the gentleman with the sign acquired his $18 ticket, he gave the sign to Camarillo.

“Another gentleman saw (the sign),” Camarillo said. “I gave him $20 (for a ticket). He didn’t have (change) but that was OK, it was meant to be.”

Cortez was asleep an hour and 15 minutes into the show and slept through the clapping, which erupted from the audience after each song. A man in the front row next to her was using his hand to orchestrate the music that came out of high definition speakers placed strategically around the room.

“You have got to love this or you are going to sleep,” Sturgeon said.

The simulcast performance captured most aspects of the real opera experience, from the music to the stage sets and crafty costume designs.

“I liked it better, you can see their expressions, everything was sharper, clearer,” said Sturgeon, who watched Wagner’s “Siegfried” as his first opera experience when he was 20 but then slept through most of the five-hour performance.

Exclusive opera performances are now within the public’s grasp due to the successes of the Metropolitan Opera’s simulcasts. Across Southern California, people can enjoy opera without the expense of traveling and without donning tuxedos or evening gowns.

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