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“World Opera in Cinema” at Detroit Institute of Arts’ Acclaimed Detroit Film Theatre - DFT exclusive area venue for screening European operas in HD

Monday, October 05, 2009

October 5, 2009 (Detroit)—The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) Detroit Film Theatre (DFT) is the exclusive Michigan venue for “World Opera in Cinema,” an extraordinary series of new opera performances presented uncut in luxurious high-definition and digital surround sound, with English subtitles.

The DFT will bring some of the most magnificently mounted and brilliantly sung productions of the season from such storied locations as Milan’s La Scala to the elegant surroundings of the DIA’s magnificently restored theatre. Among the operas to be shown are La Bohème by Puccini, Mozart’s sí fan tutte (Thus Do They All, or The School for Lovers), and La Traviata and Rigoletto by Verdi.

Elliot Wilhelm, director and programmer of the DIA’s Detroit Film Theatre, is excited to broaden the range of DFT offerings. “This is a wonderful chance for opera-lovers to see some of the most elaborate, star-studded productions from famous European opera houses without leaving Michigan, and at a reasonable price,” said Wilhelm. “The extremely high visual and audio quality of these performances will have audiences feeling as if they’ve been transported to another time and place.”

This season marks the debut of the “World Opera in Cinema” series at the DFT, and the series will be included in future DFT schedules. In addition to recent opera performances, the series will be supplemented with seasonal performances, such as The Nutcracker ballet, which will be shown this December 27 and January 3, 2010.

Tickets for “World Opera in Cinema” are $20 per film ($18 for DIA members, students and seniors). For more information, visit

Thursday, October 22, 6 p.m. and Saturday, October 24, 1 p.m.
La Bohème
by Puccini
Directed by Academy Award nominee Robert Dornheim, this lushly cinematic adaptation of Puccini’s great love story stars opera’s most revered “dream team”—soprano Anna Netrebko and tenor Rolando Villazón. Though realistically staged in terms of set design and costumes, Dornheim’s lavish film is hauntingly dreamlike in tone. Still, La Bohème’s rich visual qualities take an appropriate back seat to stars Netrebko and Villazón; the director made it clear that his concept was to create a lasting monument to these two great singers, and he’s accomplished that with style, grace and power.

Thursday, November 26, 6 p.m. and Saturday, November 28, 1 p.m.
Cosí fan tutte
(Thus Do They All, or The School for Lovers) by Mozart
German director Claus Guth will conclude his Mozart/Da Ponte cycle, which he started with Le nozze di Figaro (starring Anna Netrebko) in 2006, followed by Don Giovanni in 2008. Hungarian Conductor Adam Fischer, whose recordings of Haydn symphonies won the Echo Prize in 2008, will conduct the Vienna Philharmonic. Swedish soprano Miah Persson, guest at many international companies and festivals, will act as Fiordiligi. Appearing as Dorabella will be Isabel Leonard, the young mezzo-soprano already making waves in the world of classical music both in the US and abroad. With Topi Lehtipuu, Florian Boesch, and Patricia Petibon.

Thursday, December 17, 6 p.m. and Saturday, December 19, 1 p.m.
La Traviata
by Verdi
Giuseppi Verdi’s La Traviata, presented from the stage of Teatro alla Scala, the world’s most famous opera house, was inspired by Alexandre Dumas’ The Lady of the Camelias; the opera’s title means literally “The Woman Who Strayed.” Courtesan Violetta Valéry (Angela Gheorghiu in her highly anticipated La Scala debut) meets a new admirer, Alfredo Germont (Ramón Vargas), who confesses his love. Trouble intrudes with Alfredo's father who demands she renounce his son, since the scandal of Alfredo's affair with her has threatened his daughter's engagement. Staged for la Scala by Liliana Cavani (The Night Porter, Ripley’s Game), conducted by Lorin Maazel, and featuring Natascha Petrinsky and Tiziana Tramonti.

Sunday, December 27 and Sunday, January 3, 2010, 2 p.m.
The Nutcracker
by Tchaikovsky
A very special holiday event is The Nutcracker, the famed Kirov Ballet’s unique 2007 production of Tchaikovsky’s beloved ballet, filmed at Russia’s Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, The Nutcracker’s original stage when it debuted in 1892. Mikhail Shemiakin, Russian émigré and world-renowned avant-garde artist and sculptor, has boldly reinterpreted the historical ballet to delight and surprise a contemporary audience. Sophisticated and witty, Shemiakin’s original and wondrously unconventional interpretation differs in many ways from the traditional versions popular at Christmastime, but is no less enchanting.

Thursday, January 28, 2010, 6 p.m. and Saturday, January 30, 2010, 1 p.m.
by Verdi
Rigoletto is considered one of Giuseppe Verdi’s greatest accomplishments (and certainly his most touching portrayal of a father-daughter relationship). A work that continues to marvel audiences with its moving story and such trademark arias as La donna e’ mobile, Caro nome, and Cortigiani vil razza dannata, this production is conducted by Massimo Zanetti, who continues to enjoy a reputation as one of the most exciting conductors of his generation. Maestro Leo Nucci (possibly the greatest Italian baritone working today) sings the title role; in January 2008, as he sang his 400th performance as Rigoletto, the audience was so blown away that Maestro Nucci had to give three encores. Presented from the stage of the legendary Teatro Regio in Parma, with soprano Nino Machaidze, new tenor sensation Francesco Demuro, and the stunning, classic sets of the great designer Pierluigi Samaritani.


The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA),located at 5200 Woodward Avenue in Detroit, is one of the premier art museums in the United States and home to more than 60,000 works that comprise a multicultural survey of human creativity from ancient times through the 21st century. From the first van Gogh painting to enter a U.S. museum (Self Portrait, 1887), to Diego Rivera's world-renowned Detroit Industry murals (1932–33), the DIA's collection is known for its quality, range, and depth.

Programs are made possible with support from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the City of Detroit.

Contact: Pamela Marcil 313-833-7899