Friday, September 30, 2011

Is The Met: Live in HD in Hong Kong Educational?

My friend who takes care of booking all the MET tickets for our group of friends got an email from the organizer of The Met: Live in HD announcing that it might not be able to continue with its showing as the HKAPA is proposing a huge rent increase for the use of the Wellcome Theatre. The increase is apparently due to the introduction of a new policy that will forego the charge of a nominal rentif the rental was for educational purpose.

What is happening now is that Brenda and Laurence Scofield, Vice Chairman and Chairman of the Foundation for the Arts and Music in Asia (FAMA – the organization supporting this initiative), are appealing to the public for support. They are asking the public to email them about their experiences and tell them how showing opera at the Wellcome Theatre has been good for the public and for nurturing arts in Hong Kong. Equipped with these emails, they hope to show HKAPA that indeed this initiative has educational benefits and HKAPA should keep the old policy and do without the huge rent increase.

I, for one, want the The Met to continue; and if the organizer believes that the Wellcome Theatre is indeed the ideal venue, then I will try my best to support them. There is no doubt at all that The Metropolitan Opera is indeed one of the greatest, if not the greatest opera house in the world. For Hong Kong people to have the opportunity to experience and discover the significance and magnificence of this art form from the best is of utmost important. It doesn’t only alleviate the standard of the audience, but also set the standard for Hong Kong artists to aspire to.

It is exactly these kind of initiatives that the HKAPA should support as it tries to create and nurture the future demands for the graduates of HKAPA. This reminded me of the time when I met a young lady who was attending her first “opera” during the broadcast of Die Walkure. After the showing, she raved about the experience and thanked me for explaining bits and pieces of the opera before and during the intermissions. The reality is that I have absolutely no doubt that with any lesser opera house AND with any lesser venue, she would have walked out already during the 1st act and will never ever thought of attending an opera again.

So to all my readers, if you believe that The Met: Live in HD is worth supporting, please write to the attention of the Director of HKAPA. You may send your email to him in care of FAMA at this address:



At September 30, 2011 at 8:37 AM , Anonymous K said...

That lady has been fortunate to get the introduction and briefing to the opera. With his insight, I'm sure Satoshi guided the girl to the world of fine opera.

At October 2, 2011 at 12:22 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's great that the Met in HD is here in Hong Kong but the promoter has been getting the venue essentially for free, and making a nice profit in the process - not forgetting the added sponsorship monies from FAMA as well. Now the APA wants to charge a regular rent and the promoter thinks its unfair as she wont make as much profit.. In the US the Met in HD ticket price in an Los Angeles cinema is US$22 (HK$170) in London GBP19 (HK$230) we pay similar prices here in Hong Kong yet the promoter is getting the venue for free. The APA was being proactive in helping screen the concerts at the start, and the promoter rather than saying thank you is using you to complain how unfair it is that they'll make less profit.

At October 2, 2011 at 9:38 PM , Blogger SATOSHI said...

Ahhhh... MONEY... but before I talk about that, I would like to thank you Anonymous for providing a different perspective.

Now back to the issue of money... I am not privy to the economics of running a theatre or showing The Met. Making profit is a very fashionable activity here in Hong Kong and I can't blame the promoter or HKAPA for wanting to profit from this initiative.

At the center of this issue is that what was okay before is no longer okay now. However, the paying patron perspective is that it is great to have The Met here in Hong Kong, and he will try to help to make it stays. Nobody is using me except me as it is clear to me that I want The Met to be here in Hong Kong. The organizer was clear on what it wants and how the viewers can help to make The Met stays. How about HKAPA? I do hope that HKAPA can also tell me how I can be of help to make The Met stays.

Money, not arts or education, prevails here in Hong Kong.

At October 5, 2011 at 3:45 PM , Blogger Sheila said...

I agree with you Satoshi on the last point. Now I've seen two operas in LA, I realize the opera scene of HK is...well, rather poor, I'd say. Though I didn't see any Met in HD during my time in HK since I like real people more and didn't have so much passion in opera then, I hope it will stay in HK so that opera-lovers and students at least have something of high quality to see.
Your group of friends...I'm kind of jealous of you. If only I could have some friends to go to a play/opera together (used to have a few, with musicals). And the lady was lucky: I'm still intimidated by the length of a Wagner, but one day I might get to like him, who knows. I used to do as you did to the lady when I tried to convert someone to a musical-lover (but didn't succeed) and may still do it if I bring a friend to a play that I know something about and he/she is new to theatre.

At October 5, 2011 at 6:50 PM , Blogger SATOSHI said...

Thank you Sheila for your comments :-) The Met do plays a role in developing appreciation for opera here in HK. The funny thing is that I don't even know that this Wellcome Theatre exists until The Met, thus in my view, the theatre is not serving me any good until it has The Met! I am not so sure what was it being used for prior to The Met. Was it profitable before? Or is it just trying to be profitable now? I am sure the whole situation is far more complicated, BUT for me, I view it in a rather simpler way... I want The Met at the price it used to be... can somebody tell me what I can do to help make this a reality... :-)

At December 24, 2011 at 10:28 AM , Blogger R.Z. said...

I just want to add some comment to the money issue, as Anonymous said, FAMA is sponsoring money to the "promoter" so that the promoter is earning money. However, the "promoter" is actually FAMA itself, as Met in HD is part of the foundation. FAMA is a non-profit foundation which is required by law that it is not allowed to make any profit. This means that even though the Met in HD project might make some money, (which I have no idea if they do or not, or how much), the foundation have to spend that money on some other arts related charity use in Hong Kong.
PS, the new season of the Met is coming back in UA Cinema.


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