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Metropolitan Opera Launches New Subscription Service on October 22

Continuing its innovative use of electronic media to reach a global audience, the Metropolitan Opera introduces Met Player, a new subscription service that will make its extensive video and audio catalog of full-length performances available to the public for the first time online, and in exceptional, state-of-the-art quality. Beginning on October 22, 120 historic audio recordings and 50 full-length opera videos will be available during the first month of the new service, including over a dozen of the company's acclaimed The Met: Live in HD transmissions, known for their extraordinary sound and picture quality.  New content, including HD productions and archival broadcasts, will be added monthly.

The Met is the first performing arts organization in the world to present such a wide variety of performances in such high quality resolution, available whenever its users wish to see or hear them. The service will be available for a monthly charge of $14.99 or on a per view price ranging from $3.99 to $4.99.  The Met has been developing the new service over the past year, working with a consortium of new technology companies -Move Networks, mPoint, PermissionTV, and POP - adapting recently developed technologies to ensure superior picture and sound quality for the Met's long-form programming.

Met Player will offer a wealth of video performances to choose from, including the 1977 La Bohème with Renata Scotto and Luciano Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo's Otello (1995), and La Forza del Destino with Leontyne Price (1984), as well as the recent HD live shows from the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons, including Natalie Dessay and Juan Diego Flórez in La Fille du Regiment. Some of the initial offerings have never been seen since their original television broadcasts: Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci with Tatiana Troyanos, Teresa Stratas, and Domingo (1978); Leontyne Price's Aida (1985); and The Queen of Spades with Galina Gorchakova, and Domingo (1999).

"The Met has the richest reservoir of historic broadcast performances, to which we have been adding scores of new performances shot in high definition which were initially distributed live in movie theaters," said Peter Gelb, the Met's General Manager. "Now, these same programs will be available whenever opera lovers wish to play them."

"I am delighted that the Met's incredibly extensive archive of video and audio performances will be so easily accessible to opera lovers everywhere," says Music Director James Levine.  "I certainly look forward to reliving some of those great nights in the opera house that first got me excited about the art form."

The legendary audio performances include Rosa Ponselle's exhilarating 1937 Carmen, as well as other Met radio performances from such celebrated artists as Carlo Bergonzi, Jussi Bjoerling, Maria Callas, Franco Corelli, Mario del Monaco, Lauritz Melchior, Zinka Milanov,  Birgit Nilsson, Joan Sutherland, Renata Tebaldi, and Richard  Tucker.

Utilizing the technology of Met Player, users have the option of hooking up their computers to new HD TV sets and home-stereo sound systems, delivering the Met's catalog in high quality. The cleanly-designed, simple, easy-to-navigate interface on the Met's website will allow users to find their favorite performances quickly.

Subscription fees are priced at $14.99 per month or $149.99 for a yearly plan. As a special benefit for Met members who contribute at the $125 level or above, a six-month introductory package will be available for $49.99. Individual purchases will cost $4.99 for HD videos and $3.99 for an audio performance or non-HD video; these individual purchases may be played in a six-hour period within 30 days. Met Player will provide a free downloadable audio and video website player with any rental or subscription order.

In order to purchase video or audio streaming, users must register at the Metropolitan Opera's website for Met Player, directly accessible at www.metplayer.org, and a one week free trial subscription will be available to anyone after registration.  For those who want to preview Met Player for free, there will be three select video clips to choose from for viewing at any time.

For a preview of the Met Player experience, go to www.metplayer.org/preview. For an optimal viewing experience, a multi-core processor, with at least 1GB of memory and 32MB of video RAM, is recommended.

About the Met

Under the leadership of General Manager Peter Gelb and Music Director James Levine, the Met has a series of bold initiatives underway that are designed to broaden its audience and revitalize the company's repertory.  The Met has made a commitment to presenting modern masterpieces alongside the classic repertory, with highly theatrical productions featuring the greatest opera stars in the world.

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