To the Editor:
For years, Athens folks made the long drive to Columbus to one of the big multiplex theaters to attend Saturday matinee simulcast performances of the Metropolitan Opera. This was an expensive all-day outing, considering the drive each way, gasoline, lunch and ticket. Since a year and a half ago, the same Met experience available in Columbus has been offered at the Athena Grand.
The performances are aired LIVE from New York City on the big screen and include wonderful intermission interviews with the singers and other musicians, along with backstage tours to see the fine points involved with constructing the sets and costumes. For a mere $22 admission ($20 for seniors), each performance is viewed on the big screen and includes subtitles, if not in English. Even the most expensive seats in Lincoln Center do not provide the close-up view possible in the Athena Grand!
The theater manager has gone out of his way to accommodate opera patrons by giving up the LARGEST seating space in the complex on a Saturday afternoon for the opera, although attendance may not warrant it. He provides printed handouts and serves plates of cookies and punch at intermission purchased out of his own pocket. He purposely screens the "quietest" film available in the adjacent theater to reduce (although he can't eliminate) occasional interference with the music. The Metropolitan Opera Company takes 40 percent of the gate and charges $1,000 for each matinee! Obviously, unless the house is FULL – at least 50 – it's possible that Athens may lose a wonderful opportunity for people to experience "high art" that is otherwise not available locally.
Please consider attending an upcoming Metropolitan Opera matinee performance. If you've been thinking about going but haven't gotten around to it, GO! Take a date! Invite a friend! Surprise someone with a ticket to the opera. Even if you don't think you'd like opera, just try it for an opportunity to hear and see theater, art and music, at the height of perfection. You may discover there is MUCH more to opera than you thought. For example, the upcoming performance on Feb. 16 of Rigoletto, an intense story of romance and intrigue, has been updated and is set in Las Vegas in the '60s. How cool is that?
Information about future productions (and encore performances) can be found on the Athena Grand website, Facebook and Twitter. Most Met live matinees start at 12:55 p.m.
See you at the opera!
North Congress Street