Covent Garden to broadcast the first opera in 3D

Martin Cullingford13th May 2010
3D Carmen (photo: Steve Hanson)3D Carmen (photo: Steve Hanson)

With all the new innovations in bringing opera to new audiences, including the high-definition cinema showings led by Glyndebourne and the Metropolitan Opera, it has been wondered for some time whether 3D might follow. Now the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, has announced that it will be the first to follow where Avatar et al have led.

It is, however, the same 3D technology company that worked on Avatar, called RealD, which will be joining the Royal Opera House in this venture. As for which operas will be afforded the 3D treatment, the possibilities would appear to be tantalising - one can well see the talons of a louring Fafner reaching out to the viewer in Wagner’s Das Rheingold, the flamboyant choreography of Andrei Serban’s famous Turandot production, or even the repeatedly swingeing guillotine of the last scene of Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites!

In fact it will be Francesca Zambello’s staging of Bizet’s Carmen that makes opera’s 3D debut. There will be two specially convened filming sessions for which audiences can buy discounted tickets, and the 3D film is due for broadcast in cinemas in the autumn. The cast will include Christine Rice, Bryan Hymel and Aris Argiris.

With multi-media company Opus Arte owned by the Royal Opera House, the company is well-equipped for rolling out 3D if it catches on. And where opera has led, no doubt ballet will follow.

James Inverne

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