Accessibility is key. Until today, I had only experienced one opera while on my honeymoon in 2002. We stayed for a few days in London and tried getting tickets to The Breath of Life playing at the Theater Royal Haymarket (it starred Dame Judi Dench). Instead we saw The Phantom of the Opera (Original 1986 London Cast) at Her Majestys Theatre.
Whatever the case, until today I had not really had any exposure to opera.
That changed when my wife and I went to see a performance of The Barber of Seville (Il Barbiere di Siviglia) by the Metropolitan Opera...at a movie theater. The Met Opera has an interesting initiative where they are pushing high definition content out of the opera house to theaters around the world. This is a great way to bring opera to the masses in a setting most people are comfortable with and within.
No, the libretto is not printed on a popcorn tub (it's subtitled on the screen).
I discussed this with a packet-pushing friend of mine and we're both of the opinion that the Met simply pushes the performance as a multicast stream and authorized theaters simply joins the multicast session. In other words, it's cable television pay-per-view on the big screen.
I've contacted the Met in the hope of interviewing people involved with the HD program. I'd like to hear about the technical challenges and solutions as well as the inspiration for and future of the program. If I get a response, I'll do my best to post it here. I'd love to someday be able to go to a community movie theater or college campus and watch a HD stream of symphony, drama, opera, pop music, etc. that I would never otherwise have a chance to see.