Opera House Live at the Met season presents ‘The Nose’

Live at the Met, the Metropolitan Opera’s award-winning series of live, high definition opera transmissions to theaters around the world, continues its 2013-14 season at the 1891 Fredonia Opera House on Saturday at 1 p.m., with Dmitri Shostakovich’s contemporary Russian opera “The Nose,” starring Tony Award-winner Paulo Szot.

“We’re very excited to be participating in our third full season of Live at the Met broadcasts,” notes Opera House Executive Director Rick Davis. “The audiences, while small, have been extremely enthusiastic about this series. There’s just something exhilarating about seeing an opera production presented by one of the world’s foremost companies and seeing it right here in Fredonia at the same time audiences in NYC are seeing it live.”

Live at the Met telecasts are now shown in more than 1,950 theaters in 64 countries, making the Met the only arts institution with an ongoing global art series of this scale. The Met was the first arts company to experiment with this type of broadcast, beginning on a modest scale in 2006 and growing every season since then, with more than 10 million tickets sold to date.

Met opera stars serve as hosts for the series, conducting live interviews with cast members, crew and production teams, and introducing the popular behind-the-scenes features; altogether the worldwide audience is given an unprecedented look at what goes into the staging of an opera at one of the world’s great houses.

Critically acclaimed and sold-out at the Met in 2010, William Kentridge’s dazzlingly innovative production of Shostakovich’s shocking, unconventional opera about a beleaguered Russian official and his runaway nose, “The Nose” makes a much anticipated return to the Met. It stars Tony Award-winner (South Pacific) Szot as Kovalyov, a hapless bureaucrat who awakes one morning to discover that his nose has run away. Andrey Popov is the menacing Police Inspector and Alexander Lewis makes his Met role debut as Kovalyov’s peripatetic nose. Russian Conductor Pavel Smelkov leads the Met orchestra. The opera runs 1 hour, 50 minutes without intermission.

The Wall Street Journal calls the production “a wildly colorful and imaginative staging, a non-stop hour-and-a-half of ingenious, delirious mayhem.”

The New York Times adds “with unflagging energy and unfettered imagination, it powerfully seconds both the irreverent zaniness of the Gogol story on which the opera is based and the teeming exuberance of Shostakovich’s music.” The Times also says “Szot brings a certain stature, vocal as well as physical, and considerable vulnerability to his winning characterization.”

Individual tickets to each of the operas in the season are $20, ($18 Opera House members, $15 students). The Opera House also offers a flexible subscription consisting of eight tickets that can be used however the patron wants one at a time to eight different operas, all at once for eight people, or anything in between. It is $142. Tickets may be purchased in person at the Opera House Box Office or by phone at 679-1891, Tuesday-Friday, 1-5 p.m. Tickets may be purchased online anytime at www.fredopera.org.

The remaining 2013-14 Live at the Met season operas include: Puccini’s Tosca on Nov. 9; Verdi’s Falstaff on Dec. 14; Dvor’k’s Rusalka on Feb. 8; Borodin’s Prince Igor on March 1; Massenet’s Werther on March 15; Puccini’s La Boheme on April 5; Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte on April 26; and Rossini’s La Cenerentola on May 10.

Live at the Met opera broadcasts are made possible by Dr. James M. and Marcia Merrins, who funded the purchase of the satellite transmission and projection equipment used in the series.

Chautauqua County’s only performing arts center presenting its own programming year-round, the 1891 Fredonia Opera House is a member-supported not-for-profit organization located in Village Hall in downtown Fredonia. For a complete schedule of events, visit www.fredopera.org.