Friday, October 12, 2012

World-Class Opera and the Mall!

Ok, so get this. Did you know you can see the Metropolitan Opera, the Bolshoi Ballet and the Netherlands Dance Theater performing live, on the large screen, in high-def, at a shopping mall outside Avignon? The cinema is the Gaumont Pathé, located in a free-standing building in the parking lot of Cap Sud, a large ''centre commercial'' on a busy stretch of the N7 (Route Nationale 7), also known as the Avenue Pierre Semard and the Route de Marseille. (Before I learned about this, I thought the most interesting feature of this whole traffic-clogged road was the delightfully retro Bowling Avignon, tucked away on a little side street.)

But wait, there's more! The same screenings will also be held at certain Pathé cinemas in Nice, Marseille, Valence, Montpellier and well as the rest of France.
The Metropolitan Opera will be broadcast live from Lincoln Center in New York, 12 times between now and April, 2013. Tomorrow night at 6:55 pm you can see the Met's new production of Doniezetti's L'Elisir d'Amour. Then comes Othello (Oct 27), The Tempest (Nov. 10),  La Clemanza de Tito (Dec 1), Un Ballo en Maschera (Dec 8), Aida (Dec 15), Les Troyens (Jan 5), Marie Stuart (Jan 19), Rigoletto (Feb 16), Parsifal (Mar 2), Francesca da Rimini (Mar 16) and Haendel's Jules Cesar (Apr 27). Individual and package prices are available.

The Bolshoi Ballet, the largest ballet company in the world, takes its turn on the big screen seven times: Oct 21, Nov 25, Dec 16, Jan 27, Feb 10, Mar 31 and May 12. The broadcast is live from Moscow and the works include Swan Lake, Don Quijote, Romeo and Juliet and the Rites of Spring, among others. This is the third year that the Bolshoi has participated in the program.

The Netherlands Dance Theater will perform four times: Nov 15, Dec 20, Feb 7 and May 30. The NDT is the largest ''contemporary and neoclassic'' dance company in the world and this 2012/2013 season marks their debut in the Pathé cinemas series.

My friend Barbara Abeille reports that the whole experience is wonderful...that the theater offers comfortable, plush seating...and that it's rarely full. ''It's quite easy to get tickets, either online or at the theater box office,'' she says. ''And I've been quite impressed with how nice and accommodating the staff is at Cap Sud.  Also, if you have to cancel your ticket, it's very easy to get reimbursed, providing you cancel within a certain time frame prior to the performance.'' 

For tickets and more info, the Pathé Cinemas site is here. Select the Bolshoi, the Met or the Netherlands Dance Theater from the menu on the home page, then choose your city from the drop-down menu.

Barbara also clued me in that a similar program--this one called ''So Royal!'' and featuring opera and ballet from the Royal Opera House in London--begins Oct 23 at the Capitole Studios Cinema at Le Pontet, the enormous shopping center north of Avignon. Personally I think Le Pontet is the Tenth Circle of Hell (poor signage, confusing entry and exit ramps, one-way streets, etc.) but you're probably smarter than I am....and you can find info on that program here

Photos: 1. ''Casse Noisette'' (The Nutcracker to you and me) will be shown Thursday December 13 at the Capitole Studios Cinema at Le Pontet. 2. The Bolshoi's Romeo and Juliet is at the Pathé Cinema at Cap Sud on May 12, 2013. 3. The Bolshoi's Don Quijote is at Cap Sud February 10, 2013. 4. Renée Fleming as Desdemona in the Metropolitan Opera's Othello, which you can see at Cap Sud on Saturday, October 27, 2012.


  1. Julie, I saw a simulcast of the Met Opera at the huge comlpex outside of Nimes and it really was pretty amazing, I have to say. The night that I went it was full to the gills! The sound was absolutely amazing and I loved the backstage moments. My only advice would be to sneak in some tasty snacks because the choices if you are peckish are not great!

  2. Hi Julie
    We recently saw Wagner's Ring series at out local theater, and it was fabulous.



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