Opera in Cinema program especially valuable to Vegas

Theater shows on DVD have never had much allure to me because no matter how good, they often lack the spark of a live performance. That’s why the recent high-definition broadcast of Bizet’s “Carmen” at the Rave Town Square 18 proved a welcomed surprise.

The Opera in Cinema program is featuring a season of the world’s greatest operas from the world’s leading houses. The productions are shared simultaneously worldwide. “Carmen” originated from La Scala in Milan, and it was an overwhelming experience — visually and vocally. The wide screen and high definition lends itself to the pleasant excesses of opera, and the camera angles allow intimate views of things we’d never see — such as the intricate workings of the musicians’ fingers. Great care is taken to make sure you feel part of the group. The cameras even linger on the patrons as they stroll and chat during intermissions. I had to resist the theater-going tradition of applauding after every number.

Next up is Verdi’s “Il Trovatore” (The Troubadour) on Tuesday from the Liceu opera house (founded in 1847) in Barcelona. This is the work that the Marx Brothers used as the basis for their 1935 film “A Night at the Opera.” The “live” broadcast at Rave will be at 11 a.m. with an encore at 5 p.m. Tickets are $20. This program strikes me as especially valuable in Vegas, since we rarely get to see professional opera around these parts. …

If you’ve got a script gathering dust, you might consider entering Las Vegas Little Theatre’s second annual playwriting contest. The folks there are looking to produce in the spring a full-length work (not a musical) with a maximum of eight characters, a simple set, and subject matter that may be especially appealing to 18- to 30-year-olds. Last year’s winner — “Great Western Wanderlust” by Eric Eberwein — wound up being put in print by Original Works Publishing. There’s also a $150 first-prize award, $75 for second place and $50 for third. Submission deadline is Dec. 31, but you might be able to talk your way into an extension (more info: lvlt.org).

My only major regret in seeing Signature Productions’ “A Signature Christmas” at the Summerlin Library is that the concert had only a two-day run. Director Shannon Winkel and her 13-member cast delivered a heartfelt evening of standards and seldom-heard character songs. I started taking notes in the beginning to figure out which individuals deserved mentioning, but the list got so long I had to put away my notebook. The show made for a nonstop celebration of great voices. I’m hoping maybe next year Signature will consider a longer run of a similar-type production. More audiences deserve to see it.

Anthony Del Valle can be reached at DelValle@aol.com. You can write him c/o Las Vegas Review-Journal, P.O. Box 70, Las Vegas NV 89125.

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