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Opera to the People


Opera has long had the reputation of being expensive and inaccessible. There are ways around the high ticket prices, but never before has opera been this easy for new audiences. In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Seattle Center, Seattle Opera will simulcast the May 5 opening night performance of Madama Butterfly, one of the world’s most popular and entertaining operas. The live performance will be projected in HD on a 50′ x 80′ screen, with stereo surround sound, at Key Arena. Tickets are free, but since only 8,000 will be distributed, it is worth registering in advance for priority seating.

Madama Butterfly is to the opera what Swan Lake is to the ballet – a classic whose fame extends beyond fans of the art form. It’s the perfect story to draw new audiences to the opera. Free admission and an arena atmosphere make the simulcast a great opportunity to introduce older kids to the art form, while food and beverages, including beer and wine, available from Key Arena concessions are sure to be appreciated by the adults.

The interior of KeyArena, set up for simulcast. Photo © Roy Berris

In addition to the actual performance, there will be pre-performance activities in the lobbies, including a kimono demonstration; and pre-performance and intermission video features will introduce opera and offer behind-the-scenes looks at what goes into bringing an opera to the stage. To cap the celebration, Seattle Opera will be giving away tickets to the 2012/13 season opening production of Turandot.


Just the Facts:


WHEN:  Saturday, May 5, doors open at 6:00 p.m., opera begins at 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: KeyArena

HOW: Register for Priority Seating at