Having been born and raised in the Big Apple, I spent many hours as a youngster experiencing the wonderful cultural opportunities that big cities offer: Museums, art galleries, musicals, Broadway plays and opera performances at the Metropolitan Theater.
My grandpa Joe was a huge fan of Opera. He introduced me to such amazing voices as the Great Caruso and Maria Callas. I was enchanted by the sounds, even though I couldn't understand a word of the italian they were singing in. Back in the 60s and 70s, they had not yet developed the closed-captioned screens of today that allow you to read an english translation of the words being sung. But the emotions conveyed by the music and their voices was palpable.
I will never forget seeing Pavarotti sing live. The man had a voice that could boom out anger and then turn on a dime to a quiet despair. And there were the amazing costumes, and the music and the sets - it was a fantasy land on stage. Needless to say, thanks to my grandpa Joe, I became a huge fan of Opera.
Now that I live in the Ozarks, my best chances for Opera are a drive to Little Rock or the occasional side trip to Eureka Springs in the summer months to their Opera in the Ozarks at Inspiration Point. At least, those were my best chances, until I heard about a program going on at -- of all places -- the Carmike Cinemas Village 5 in Mountain Home.
Three operas and six ballets will be offered streaming live, on the big screen, at the movie theater, with recorded Encore presentations available at a later time. Those in attendance receive a program listing the cast and production notes along with a synopsis of the story and subtitles on the screen help you translate what's going on. Plus, not only do you get to enjoy the performances, costumes and music -- you also get to see them performed in some of the most famous opera houses in the world, including the Teatra alla Scala in Milan, Italy and the Royal Opera House in London.
Opera -- LIVE -- in the Ozarks! For me, it is a dream come true. On February 16, they will be showing Mascagni's "Cavalleria Rusticana" and Leoncavallo's "Pagliacci" at 1 p.m. with an Encore showing at 7:30 p.m. Mozart's "The Magic Flute," one of my favorites as a child, is showing March 24 at 1 p.m. with an Encore at 7:30 p.m. Closing out the opera's is Verdi's "Macbeth" on June 13, time to be announced, with an Encore showing on June 22 at 7:30 p.m.
For the ballet's, we are treated to performances by both the Bolshoi Ballet Company and the Paris Opera Ballet Company. First up, the Bolshoi Ballet with "Giselle" at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 2. Next up is "Caligula" by the Paris company at 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 8 with an Encore at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 17. "Don Quixote" will be on the screen at 10 a.m. on March 6, with an Encore showing at 7:30 p.m. on March 16. You'll have a chance to compare artistic styles between the companies when the ballet "Coppelia" is first presented by the Paris Opera Ballet at 12:30 p.m. on March 28 with an Encore at 7:30 p.m. on April 6, followed by the Bolshoi Ballet's version at 10 a.m. May 29, followed by an Encore at 7:30 p.m. on June 8. Finally, the ballet "Children of Paradise" will be shown at 12:30 p.m. on July 9, followed by an Encore at 7:30 p.m. on July 20.
Shows are $20 per ticket, with discounts for seniors and children. You can check out the schedule online at www.carmike.com or call the Carmike Cinemas Village 5 at 870-425-5306.
It's a wonderful opportunity to introduce your children to the wonders of Opera and Ballet, or, as in my case, to be a kid again, sitting in the audience, entranced by the music and marvelling at the spectacle.