Since taking over as the Metropolitan Opera's general manager in 2006, Peter Gelb has made opera accessible to more people and created new opera fans. His most visible outreach accomplishment is "The Met: Live in HD."
These transmissions into movie theaters worldwide return for a seventh season Saturday with a new production of Donizetti's "L'elisir d'amore" ("The Elixir of Love"), starring soprano Anna Netrebko as Adina and tenor Matthew Polinzani as Nemorino. It's the opera in which the tenor has the familiar hit tune, known in Italian as "Una furtive lagrima."
English subtitles on the screen (as well as supertitles in live performances) have taken the mystery out of opera and eliminated the art form's esoteric reputation.
Locally, the Met in HD screens in Cinemark theaters in Settlers Ridge in Robinson and at Pittsburgh Mills in Frazer and in Rave Pittsburgh North in McCandless, simulcast live on Saturday afternoons usually starting at 12:55 p.m. There are also "encore" presentations on Wednesday evenings two weeks later and on home TV on PBS's "Great Performance" series. It should be noted that "Live in HD" performances (a total of 12 this year) coincide with the Met's Saturday afternoon live radio broadcasts -- a great American cultural tradition since 1931, aired weekly during the season in this area on WQED-FM.
The upcoming HD series includes seven new productions, two of which -- Thomas Ades' "The Tempest" and Donizetti's "Maria Stuarda" -- are Met premieres. The other new mountings, in addition to "L'elisir d'amore," are Verdi's "Un ballo in maschera" ("A Masked Ball"), "Rigoletto," Wagner's "Parsifal" and Handel's "Giulio Cesare" ("Julius Caesar").
The 2012-13 schedule (all start at 12:55 p.m. unless otherwise noted:
Saturday: Donizetti: L'elisir d'amore"
Oct. 27: Verdi: "Otello"
Nov. 10: Ades: "The Tempest"
Dec. 1: Mozart: "La Clemenza di Tito"
Dec. 8: Verdi: "Un ballo in maschera"
Dec. 15: Verdi: "Aida"
Jan. 5, 2013 (noon): Berlioz: "Les Troyens"
Jan. 19: Donizetti: "Maria Stuarda"
Feb. 16: Verdi: "Rigoletto"
March 2 (noon): Wagner: "Parsifal"
March 16 (noon): Zandonai: "Francesca da Rimini"
April 27 (noon): Handel: "Giulio Cesare"
At the following theaters:
• Rave Pittsburgh North, 9701 McKnight Road, McCandless, 15237.
• Cinemark, 2100 Settler's Ridge Center Drive, Robinson, 15205.
• Cinemark, Pittsburgh Mills, 425 Pittsburgh Mills Circle, Frazer, 15084.
Tickets: $16-$24; http://www.metoperafamily.org/metopera/index.aspx.
Robert Croan is the former PG classical music critic.