Opera & popcorn: Lots to see in Southwest Florida

A scene from Verdi's "Otello."

Photo by ken howard/MetropolitanOpera, © 2007 ken howard/metropolitan opera ïall rights reserved

A scene from Verdi's "Otello."

Southwest Florida is becoming a bustling place for live opera, with two companies: Opera Naples and the Sarasota Opera in performance series. But for those who can't get enough, Silverspot Cinema has ramped up its live and rebroadcast opera with several festivals. They include a Verdi and Puccini fest, and — get out your spear and horned helmet — the entire "Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung)" tetralogy.

The Metropolitan Opera, a perennial favorite, also returns with an extensive group of offerings from its season. They will be broadcast at the Hollywood Stadium 20 in Naples, Coconut Point and the Bell Tower Cinemas in Fort Myers.

The Silverspot series includes appetizers at intermission and the opportunity to enjoy wine or beer at the show. Tickets cost about $28. At the Met series, tickets cost $25 and include backstage intermission interviews by opera stars.

There is little overlap, so operaphiles can enjoy something new almost every week. For fun, compare the two versions of Verdi's "Aida" from the Met and from the Weimar, Germany, Opera Festival.

Here is a complete listing of cinema operas for the season:

Silverspot series

Silverspot Cinema is at 9118 Strada Place, in Mercato, North Naples. You can buy tickets online at www.silverspotcinema.com or at the box office. Information: 239-592-0300

■ Tuesday, Oct. 16: Lehar's "Die Lustige Witwe (The Merry Widow)." Petra-Maria Schnitzer, Bo Skovhus, conductor Manfed Honeck, at SemperOper Dresden

■ Oct. 30: Bizet's "Carmen." Marina Domashenko, Rolando Villazon, conductor Daniel Barenboim with the Staatskapelle Berlinat Staatsoper Berlin

■ Nov. 20: Mozart's "Così Fan Tutte." Katharina Kammerloher, Hanno Müller-Brachmann, conductor Daniel Barenboim with the Staatskapelle Berlin, at Staatsoper Berlin. 1 p.m.

■ Dec. 9 and 11: "Three Superstars in Berlin" gala. Anna Netrebko, Erwin Schrott, Jonas Kaufmann, conductor Marco Armiliato with the Prague Philharmonic at the Berlinder Waldbühne. 6 p.m. Encore 1 p.m.

■ Jan. 27: Massenet's "Werther," Silvia Hablowetz, Keith Ikaia-Purdy, conductor Daniel Carlberg Badisches at State Theater Karlsruhe. 6 p.m.

■ Jan. 29: Verdi's "Un Ballo In Maschera." 6 p.m. Massimiliano Pisapia, Franco Vassallo, Chiara Taigi, conductor Riccardo Chailly with the Liepzig Opera orchestra, Opera Leipzig. 1 p.m.

■ March 17 and 19: Saint-Saëns' "Samson & Delilah." Clifton Forbis, Olga Borodina, conductor Patrick Summers at the San Francisco Opera. 6 p.m. Encore 1 p.m.

■ March 24 and 26: Glinka's "Ruslan & Lyudmila." Mikhail Kit, Anna Netrebko, Yuri Marusin, conductor Valery Gérgiev at Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia. 6 p.m. Encore 1 p.m.

Silverspot/Roman Quarry

The Opera Festival at St. Margarethen's grand opera open-air productions is featuring an all-Verdi program this year, and will be carried each day by Silverspot. Ernst Märzendorfer conducts.

■ Jan. 6: "Nabucco." Igor Morosow, Bruno Ribeiro, Elisabeth Kulman. 6 p.m.

■ Jan. 7: "La Traviata." Kristiane Kaiser, Jean-Francois Borras, Georg Tichy. 6 p.m.

■ Jan. 8: "Aida." Eszter Sümegi, Kostadin Andreev, Cornelia Helfricht. 6 p.m.

Silverspot/"Ring" series

Richard Wagner's famous "Ring" series will be broadcast from Weimar, Germany, the composer's birthplace. Carl St. Clair conducts.

J■ an. 13 and 15: "Das Rheingold." Mario Hoff, Tomas Möwes, Alexander Gunther, Jean-Noël Briend. 6 p.m. Encore 1 p.m.

■ Feb. 10 and 12: "Die Walküre," Erin Caves, Kirsten Blanck, Catherine Foster. 6 p.m. Encore 1 p.m.

■ March 10 and 12: "Siegfried." Johnny van Hall, Frieder Aurich, Tomas Möwes. 6 p.m. Encore 1 p.m.

■ April 14 and 16: "Götterdämmerung." Norbert Schmittberg, Renatus Mésár, Catherine Foster. 6 p.m. Encore 1 p.m.

Silverspot/Puccini fest

The latest productions of three Giacomo Puccini masterworks will be shown from two different opera houses.

■ April 9: "Manon Lescaut." Astrid Weber, Heiko Trinsinger, conductor Frank Beerman at Chemnitz, Germany, Opera House. 1 p.m.

■ April 23: "Madama Butterfly." Brandon Jovanovich, Matthew O'Neill. Zheng Cao, Patricia Racette, conductor Donald Runnicles with the San Francisco Opera at the San Francisco Opera House. 1 p.m.

■ April 30: "La Rondine." Rhoslyn Jones, Melody Boore, Gerard Powers, Angela Gheorghiu, conductor Ion Marin, also with the San Francisco Opera. 1 p.m.

The Met in HD

The Metropolitan Opera has announced a schedule of live HD offerings during winter in Southwest Florida, with sometimes two performances a month, and full of classics, with one premiere.

It's a Verdi-good season for the Met, with Rene Fleming as the luckless Desdemona in "Otello"; "Un Ballo in Maschera"; "Aida," and "Rigoletto," the last restaged as 1960s Las Vegas.

Local theaters carrying the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD programs are as follows:

Hollywood Stadium 20, 6006 Hollywood Drive, Naples; 239-597-4252

Hollywood Coconut Point 16, 8021 Cinema Way, Estero; 239- 498-8706

Belltower 20, 13499 Bell Tower Drive, Fort Myers; 239-437-2020

Ticket prices for this area generally are $25 adults, $23 seniors and $19 children.

All encores are at 6:30 p.m.; however, encores may not be available at all local venues; check with theaters.

■ Oct. 13 : Donizetti's "Elisir d'Amore." Anna Netrebko and Matthew Polenzani, new Bartlett Sher production; Maurizio Benini conducts. 12:55 p.m. Nov. 7 encore.

■ Oct. 27: Verdi's "Otello." Johan Botha, Renée Fleming. Semyon Bychkov conducts. 12:55 p.m. Nov. 14 encore.

■ Nov. 10: Adès' "The Tempest." composer Thomas Adès conducts; baritone Simon Keenlyside; Robert Lepage directs. 12:55 p.m. Nov. 28 encore. Nov. 28 encore.

■ Dec. 1: Mozart's "La Clemenza di Tito." Elna Garana; Giuseppe Filianoti, Barbara Frittoli; Harry Bicket conducts. 12:55 p.m. Dec. 19 encore.

■ Dec. 8: Verdi's "Un Ballo in Maschera." David Alden directs; Marcelo Álvarez, Sondra Radvanovsky, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Kathleen Kim and Stephanie Blythe; Fabio Luisi conducts. 12:55 p.m. Jan. 9 encore.

■ Dec. 15: Verdi's "Aida." Liudmyla Monastyrska, Roberto Alagna, Olga Borodina. Fabio Luisi conducts. 12:55 p.m. Jan. 16 encore.

■ Jan. 5: Berlioz's "Les Troyens." Deborah Voigt, Susan Graham, Marcello Giordani, and Dwayne Croft; Fabio Luisi directs. 12:55 p.m. Jan. 23 encore.

■ Jan. 19: Donizetti's "Maria Stuarda." Joyce DiDonato. David McVicar directs. Maurizio Benini conducts. 12:55 p.m. Feb. 6 encore.

■ Feb. 16: Verdi's "Rigoletto." restaged as 1960s Las Vegas; Piotr Beczala; eljko Lucic; Diana Damrau. 12:55 p.m. March 6 encore.

■ March 2: Wagner's "Parsifal." Jonas Kaufmann, Katarina Dalayman, Peter Mattei, Evgeny Nikitin and René Pape; Daniele Gatti conducts. Noon. March 20 encore.

■ March 16: Zandonai's "Francesca da Rimini." Eva-Maria Westbroek, Marcello Giordani; Marco Armiliato conducts. Noon. April 3 encore.

■ April 27: Handel's "Giulio Cesare." David Daniels, Natalie Dessay; Harry Bicket conducts. Noon. May 15 encore.

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