On Saturday afternoon, I attended my first "Met Opera: Live in HD" transmission at the Regal Cinema in Deerfield Township — John Adams' Doctor Atomic.
I'd been told the Regal was less crowded than the Showcase in Springdale, which often sells out, and it was — only 50 people attended, counting my wife and me. (That might be because Doctor Atomic is a new, contemporary opera.) There were problems — a transmission line moved up and down the screen throughout the performance. Although you got used to it, I definitely wanted perfection for the $20-plus ticket price. But otherwise, it was a terrific experience.
This opera, a solemn and serious work about Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer and the testing of the first atomic bomb in New Mexico, has a strong story line to go with its powerful music and set design and demands committed acting and singing. The changing, fluid camera work took us right up into the faces of the performers — baritone Gerald Finley as Oppenheimer was gripping. What a way to see an opera!
There was also a documentary about Oppenheimer and an interview with Finley just before intermission. This being a movie theater, there were anomalies. During the intermission, you could see parents and kids attending Madagascar 2 load up on over-sized portions of junk food — high culture meets some of the more unpleasant dietary aspects of pop. And some operagoers bought their own snacks, although they weren't noisy while eating. There will be an encore presentation at 7 p.m. Nov. 19 at the Regal and the Showcases in Springdale and Florence. I highly recommend it. For the rest of the season, visit www.fathomevents.com.