By Nicole S. Colson
Live from New York, it’s opera at Peterborough Players!
The theater’s Arts on Screen series is back for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
In addition to the summer season from June through September, the Players has offered opera and theater on screen including The Met: Live in HD series (for the past 13 years) and plays from London’s National Theatre (for the past 12).
Between the two series (The Met: Live in HD and National Theatre), screenings are once or twice a month from October through the start of the following summer season in June.
The Met: Live in HD series, which continues this Saturday, Nov. 5, with Giuseppe Verdi’s “La Traviata,” consists of 10 high definition simulcast performances from the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. The cinematography allows the audience to see every detail of each performance, and the sound is custom designed for the theater. All of The Met: Live in HD series and National Theatre productions include exclusive interviews with singers, actors, directors, and designers.
The Met: Live in HD series includes several classic operas, including Verdi’s “Falstaff” and two operas by Mozart (“Don Giovanni” and “Die Zauberflote”); with a modern title in the list: “Champion” by Terence Blanchard (libretto by Michael Cristofer), based on the life of African-American welterweight boxer Emile Griffith. Blanchard is also the composer of “Fire Shut Up in My Bones,” which premiered last year at the Met, the first opera by a black composer performed there.
“I’m very interested in seeing that one,” said Tom Frey, the Players’ artistic director of “Champion.”
“There are people who are really devoted to (Arts on Screen),” he added. “A lot of that is the Met, which is coming back to doing live theater (after COVID-19) like everyone else in the industry.”
Arts on Screen will also include three screenings from London’s National Theatre, beginning Saturday, Nov. 19, with a production of Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing,” the playwright’s most iconic comedy that explores themes of love, marriage, deception and revenge.
The cast includes television actress Katherine Parkinson (“The IT Crowd”) and acclaimed stage actor John Heffernan. It’s directed by Simon Godwin, whose previous National Theatre credits include “Romeo & Juliet,” “Twelfth Night” and “Antony and Cleopatra.”
While The Met: Live in HD series is a package, Frey was able to choose from a larger list of National Theatre productions for Arts on Screen.
He’s excited to see a new production presented by National Theatre, Anton Chekhov’s “The Seagull” starring Amelia Clarke (“Game of Thrones”) on Feb. 4.
The 21st-century retelling of the playwright’s tale of love and loneliness, the cast also features Indira Varma and Sophie Wu; and it’s directed by Jamie Lloyd, director of the National Theatre production “Cyrano de Bergerac” with James McAvoy in 2019.
“It’s a groundbreaking production,” said Frey. “People think of Chekhov as tragic; he thought of it as comedy.”
Closing the National Theatre series is “Straight Line Crazy,” a new play by David Hare, showing Feb. 18.
Ralph Fiennes stars as Robert Moses, one of the most influential figures of urban planning and city architecture. The story follows the effects his policies had on the population of New York City, which were very divisive.
Arts on Screen continues this month and runs through June 3. Tickets to The Met: Live in HD series are $25 each; and $20 for National Theatre screenings. The Peterborough Players will have COVID protocols in place for these performances. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit https://www.peterboroughplayers.org/arts-on-screen.html
“Opera Bites” meals are available at each of the Met: Live in HD screenings (but not at National Theatre screenings, when the concession stand is open). They come from Sunflowers Catering, and the menu changes a little for each opera. To pre-order, email Carolyn Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org; and there are additional menu items for those who do not pre-order.
Source: The Keene Sentinel - https://www.sentinelsource.com/elf/spotlight/peterborough-players-arts-on-screen-series/article_f2f57a9c-5aed-11ed-b1fb-bb568d904082.html