Seattle Opera joins the Metropolitan Opera, the Washington National Opera, Houston Grand Opera and other major companies in offering a free screen opera simulcast for the first time this weekend. Saturday night will see an expected combined audience of over 10,000 at Key Arena to watch a free live HD simulcast of Puccini’s masterpiece “Madame Butterfly,” broadcast from McCaw Hall and starring soprano Patricia Racette as Cio-Cio-San, her signature role, in her debut with the company. Italian tenor Stefano Secco plays Pinkerton, the U.S. Naval officer officer who loves then abandons the Japanese geisha.
The event is part of The Next Fifty, the 50th anniversary celebrations of the 1962 World’s Fair opera performance that led to the formation of Seattle Opera.
“Bringing a Seattle Opera performance to everyone has long been my dream,” says Speight Jenkins, general director of Seattle Opera. “The simulcast of “Madame Butterfly” will allow everyone who can get into KeyArena the opportunity of reveling in the love and pain of one of the most appealing characters in opera, Madama Butterfly. We are happy to celebrate 50 great years of Seattle Center in this way.”
Up to 8,000 free tickets have been available to the public since April 9 on Seattle Opera’s website. Priority seating for registered ticket holders on May 5 begins at 6 p.m., with doors opening to the public (with or without a ticket) at 6:30 p.m. for a 7:30 p.m. curtain. The multi-camera simulcast will include the entire 2 hour 45 minute McCaw Hall performance, as well as pre-performance and intermission video interviews and behind-the-scenes features, projected onto a 50×80-foot screen.
Pre-performance activities in the lobbies, including a kimono demonstration, are also planned.
Performances of “Madame Butterly” continue at McCaw Hall at 7:30 p.m. May 9, 11, 12, 16 and 19; and 2 p.m. May 13 and 20. Tickets from $25-$241. Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, Seattle Center, 321 Mercer St., Seattle. 800-426-1619, seattleopera.org