I have mixed feelings about attending livecasts (to me, they have the disadvantages of live performance -- rigid start times, sitting crammed in with other people -- without the compensating thrill of in-the-moment live sound, and in addition, they're generally more expensive to attend than it would be to buy a DVD) but I'm glad they exist, especially these days when the larger local organizations (that would be the San Francisco Opera and the San Francisco Symphony, in case you were wondering) are retreating headlong and frantically into the most conservative possible programming and staging. So the more variety available, the better. The Met obviously is the current big leader in these livecasts, but there's increasing competition from a group called Opera in Cinema, which has been livecasting from La Scala and the Gran Teatre del Liceu. (Click here for their website, where you can enter your zipcode and find out which theaters near you offer their shows, and also see some of their previous offerings.)
So here's the promising part: Opera in Cinema is teaming with Opus Arte and so will be adding livecasts from Covent Garden (the first livecast will be September 10, when the Royal Opera opens with Jonathan Miller's production of Cosi Fan Tutte). And not only will they be livecasting from these three great European houses, but they have a new ballet series, and a Shakespeare series from the Globe Theater in London -- I can't wait for that one. Perhaps my dream of seeing an actual performance of Timon of Athens will be coming true! And I have high hopes that DVDs will result, since Opus Arte regularly releases very high quality sets -- in fact, they released one of my recent favorites, Messiaen's Saint Francois from Amsterdam. Remember the days when we'd occasionally get live stuff like that out here? Ah, what an opera fan I am -- longing for the good old days!