San Francisco hits the big screen

San Francisco Opera is about to hop on the HD bandwagon, promising theater transmissions of six operas a year beginning in March 2008.

Unlike the Met’s simulcasts, though, San Francisco’s appear likely to turn a profit almost immediately. The company can produce their telecasts for only about $75,000 per production since earlier this year they installed a $3.5 million Taube-Koret Media Suite. The Media Suite is the first permanent high definition, broadcast-standard production facility in an opera house.

“This is the big kahuna,” said David Gockley, general director of San Francisco Opera. “It’s the most effective revenue generating use of the suite.”

The company aims for 150-200 screens the first season, which will feature La Rondine, Madama Butterfly, Samson et Dalila, The Magic Flute, Don Giovanni, Lucia di Lammermoor and Appomattox, the new opera by Philip Glass and Christopher Hampton that premiered at San Francisco Opera in October 2007.

More details on the technology and SFO’s plans can be found in an article from San Francisco Business Times.

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