By Marcia Moore
The Daily Item
SELINSGROVE — The marquee at the Digiplex Cinema Center offers a wide range of options for Valley theater-goers, from “Bullet to the Head,” to “Zero Dark Thirty” or a live Metropolitan Opera performance of "Rigoletto."
Yes, you read it right.
Opera buffs can now enjoy a live professional show from the comfort of the local movie theater instead of shelling out hundreds of dollars and traveling hours to see a performance.
For the past month, the Digiplex at the Susquehanna Valley Mall has been screening live performances broadcast from the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Repeat taped performances are shown later in the week.
The tickets are a bargain at a cost of $22 per person, said Susquehanna University Associate Professor of Music David Steinau.
“It’s for opera lovers who can’t run to New York City every weekend and for people who are just curious but wouldn’t go to the city. It’s low-risk,” he said.
Steinau has been to the Met on many occasions and says the live performances shown at the local cinema’s high-definition screen provide an equally amazing experience.
Not to mention the savings.
The cost to see a show at the 4,000-seat Met in New York City ranges from $25 to $350, not including travel and hotel costs.
“There is no substitute for a live performance, but it’s equally valid,” Steinau said. “For $22, you get extreme close-ups in high-definition and the video and sound is high quality.”
And during the 30-minute intermission, theater audiences get to peek behind the curtain with live behind-the-scene interviews, set changes and other action.
“It’s so compelling,” said Steinau. “If I had never been to the Met, this would make me want to go.”
Digiplex manager Brady Fries said the live Met simulcasts on Saturdays, as well as repeat taped performances shown during the week, have attracted good crowds.
“I’m a fan. Now that it’s on my doorstep, I’ve been watching,” Fries said.
The shows are also achieving the theater owners’ goal of bringing people to the cinema who aren’t interested in mainstream film.
Alex Belohlavek is one of the dozens of Steinau’s students who has enjoyed a Met performance live and at the movie theater.
“It’s nice that it’s so close (to home), but it’s also a casual experience. The essential parts are similar,” he said of the favorable comparisons between viewing an opera live at the Met and watching a simulcast from hundreds of miles away. “You get a feel of the room and a cool backstage view.”
If you go:
A live Metropolitan Opera performance of Verdi’s “Rigoletto” will be shown Saturday at 12:55 p.m. at the Digiplex Cinema Center in Selinsgrove. The cost of the 3 hour and 35 minute performance is $22.