NEW YORK, Sept 20, 2006 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX News Network/ -- The Metropolitan Opera and SIRIUS Satellite Radio (Nasdaq: SIRI) today announced a multi-year agreement to create Metropolitan Opera Radio, the definitive radio channel for opera lovers. The channel will debut on SIRIUS this Monday, September 25th, with a live broadcast of the Met's opening night gala performance of Puccini's Madama Butterfly, conducted by Music Director James Levine and directed by Anthony Minghella.
The exclusive new SIRIUS satellite radio music channel will broadcast an unprecedented number of live Metropolitan Opera performances each week throughout the Met's entire season, in addition to hundreds of archival performances from throughout the Met's 75-year history. Metropolitan Opera Radio will be heard on SIRIUS channel 85.
"This is a significant step in our plans to use digital technology to relay our extraordinary content," said Peter Gelb, the Met's new General Manager. "I look forward to working with SIRIUS to expand their listenership to include opera lovers throughout the US and Canada."
"With Metropolitan Opera Radio, we will bring opera lovers the best performances of our day and an unparalleled and definitive collection of historic broadcasts," said Scott Greenstein, SIRIUS President, Entertainment and Sports. "SIRIUS' broad reach and superb digital quality sound make us the perfect vehicle to help Peter Gelb and the Met fulfill their mission to both superserve existing opera lovers and create new opera fans nationwide."
The full-time channel will feature an average of four live broadcasts each week throughout the Met's 2006-07 performance season, with Saturday matinee performances enhanced with live interviews and dynamic intermission programs. The channel will also feature hundreds of re-mastered historic broadcasts culled from the Met's illustrious 75-year history. Additional vocal content will complement the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts.
Margaret Juntwait, the host of the Saturday matinee Metropolitan Opera Radio broadcasts, will be the announcer for the new channel's programs. She joins the Met full-time later this month, having hosted its nationally syndicated Saturday matinee broadcasts since 2004.
Highlights of the Met's 2006-07 season include Academy Award-winning film director Anthony Minghella's new production of Puccini's Madama Butterfly to open the season, and the world premiere of Tan Dun's The First Emperor on December 21, directed by Zhang Yimou with Placido Domingo in the title role. An abridged, English-language version of Julie Taymor's hit production of Mozart's The Magic Flute will inaugurate a new annual series of winter holiday family entertainment beginning December 29.
Today's announcement comes on the heels of the Metropolitan Opera's landmark union negotiations that provide new opportunities for distribution to larger audiences via digital media. In an historic first, this season the Met will use advanced distribution platforms and state-of-the-art technology to attract new audiences and reach millions of opera fans around the world. Beginning on December 30, the Met will transmit six of its performances live in high definition into movie theaters in the US, Canada and Europe that have been equipped with high-definition projection systems and satellite dishes.
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About the Metropolitan Opera
Under the leadership of new General Manager Peter Gelb, the Metropolitan Opera has launched many initiatives to connect the company with a larger audience. They include: a first-ever free open house that offers the public an opportunity to attend the final dress rehearsal of Madama Butterfly; an extensive Madama Butterfly transit advertising campaign in New York City during the month of September; $15 tickets (formerly $26) in the Family Circle section; the new Arnold and Marie Schwartz Gallery Met exhibiting contemporary art; a groundbreaking commissioning program in partnership with the Lincoln Center Theater that provides renowned composers and playwrights the resources to create and develop new works at the Met and Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Theater; and dynamic new content on the web site, the house program, and the Saturday matinee terrestrial radio broadcasts, which are sponsored by Toll Brothers, America's luxury home builder(TM), with generous long-term support from the Annenberg Foundation and the Vincent A. Stabile Foundation.
P-SIRI Media Contacts: Elise Brown SIRIUS 212.584.5290 firstname.lastname@example.org Sommer Hixson/Peter Clark Metropolitan Opera (212) 870-7457 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Andrew Shearer Rubenstein Associates (212) 843-8061 email@example.com
SOURCE SIRIUS Satellite Radio
Media, Elise Brown of SIRIUS Satellite Radio, +1-212-584-5290, firstname.lastname@example.org; or Sommer Hixson, email@example.com, or Peter Clark, firstname.lastname@example.org, both of Metropolitan Opera, +1-212-870-7457; or Andrew Shearer of Rubenstein Associates, +1-212-843-8061, email@example.com, for SIRIUS Satellite Radio
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