5 sats, 31 cameras, 400 projectors to be used for live opera

PARIS — Paris and Versailles are to be the scene this weekend of a monumental TV production of Giuseppe Verdi’s “La Traviata,” with a potential live audience of 1.5 billion around the world in 125 countries.

The tragic love of Violetta and Alfredo will be broadcast from the venues in the libretto: the Italian Embassy in Paris, the Queen’s hamlet in Versailles, the Petit Palais, near the Champs Elysees and the Isle St. Louis, an island of 17th-century town houses in the middle of the Seine.

Eight years in the making

Andrea Andermann, the Italian producer, said in Paris that his project has been in the making for the past eight years, and qualified it laughingly, as pure folly.

Director Giuseppe Patroni Griffi has mobilized five satellites, 31 cameras, 400 projectors and 10 audio and video studios for this opera cum cinema cum live TV.

Italian pubcaster RAI has financed some $2.3 million of the $20 million project and is in charge of the technical side.

The gradiose affair will be either live or broadcast with a slight time delay, depending on the country targeted.

Packing Paris

The logistics of this “La Traviata” have been worked out to the last detail. Five hundred musicians, singers, engineers and decorators, mostly from Italy, descended on Paris three months ago, and have been there ever since.

Indian conductor Zubin Mehta will preside from the Salle Wagram concert hall in Paris. The singers and members of the chorus will be able to see him and the orchestra via TV monitors hidden in the decor at the various scenes in and around Paris. The singers’ voices will be transmitted to the concert hall by tiny microphones hidden in their hair.

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