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L.A. Opera films preems with eye toward DVDs

Production shot on high-def for future distribution

The Los Angeles Opera filmed its world premiere presentation of “Nicholas and Alexandra” and the season opener “La damnation de Faust” with an eye toward release on DVD in the future.

The productions were shot in high-definition by Modern VideoFilm, which mounted seven cameras around the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion to record the works. Financing was provided by anonymous donors.

Brian Large, who has directed Cecilia Bartoli performances DVDs and more than 100 operas, is the director. Moshe Barkat os Modern VideoFilm is producing along with L.A. Opera.

“This state-of-the-art recording medium is a fantastic way to capture the excitement of opera through modern technology,” general director Placido Domingo wrote in a letter to patrons attending Sunday’s opening perf for “Nicholas and Alexandra.”

Domingo said the performances are recorded with “the expectation of future DVD distribution.”

Whether that distribution is handled by the company or leased/sold to a music or video imprint remains to be seen. Orchestras, led by the London and New York philharmonics, have been getting into distribution lately, self-releasing sound recordings on their own labels.

L.A. Opera’s intention is to record all eight of its productions this year, the first season in which the L.A. Opera is the primary tenant in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. There are no deals signed with talent for the DVDs at this time, and only last week was the L.A. Opera orchestra presented with a possible agreement to allow these and future recordings. Among L.A. Opera’s offerings this season are new versions of “Orfeo and Euridice,” “Madame Butterfly” and D.C. Opera’s “Lucia di Lammermoor.”

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