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National CineMedia Teams Up With The Met For Third Season of 'Live in HD'

National CineMedia (NCM) LLC, operator of the largest digital in-theatre network in North America for cinema advertising and alternative entertainment and events, and the Metropolitan Opera are proudly partnering to bring a third season of the critically-acclaimed The Metropolitan Opera: Live in HD series transmitted live, in high-definition, to more than 440 movie theatres and performing arts centers in the United States. Based on overwhelming consumer demand, the series will now reach new markets and theatres throughout the United States in a 30 percent theatre expansion over last season.

Tickets will go on sale to the general public in the United States beginning Friday, August 22nd. Visit www.FathomEvents.com to learn more and purchase tickets. Ticket prices vary by location.

The 2008-09 season of The Met: Live in HD will be the biggest yet, expanding from eight to 11 live high-definition opera transmissions. Kicking off the season on September 22nd and celebrating the 125th anniversary of the Met will be the never-before-seen, big-screen Opening Night Gala celebration starring soprano Renée Fleming in fully staged performances of scenes from Verdi's La Traviata (Act II), Massenet's Manon (Act III), and the final scene from Richard Strauss's Capriccio. The new series will also feature live transmissions of five new productions, including one Met premiere. Each live performance, with the exception of the Opening Night Gala, will be followed by an evening encore presentation the second Wednesday after the live performance. For information on advance tickets and Met Opera membership, visit www.metopera.org/hd.

Through this agreement, NCM Fathom, the alternative entertainment division of National CineMedia, will present The Met: Live in HD series in more than 440 locations via NCM's exclusive Digital Broadcast Network - North America's largest cinema broadcast network. Participating theatres include AMC Entertainment Inc., Celebration! Cinema, Cinemark Holdings, Inc., Clearview Cinemas, Georgia Theatre Company, Goodrich Quality Theatres, Hollywood Theaters, Kerasotes Showplace Theatres, Malco Theatres, Marcus Theatres, National Amusements and Regal Entertainment Group movie theatres, as well as independent theatres including Arena Theatre, The Arlington Theatre, Baltimore Opera Company - Lyric Opera House, Ocean Reef Cultural Center, Penn Cinema, Rose Theatre, The Society of the Four Arts Theatre, Strand Theatre, State Theatre (State College, PA) and the State Theatre (Traverse City, MI).

"The audience for opera is growing with each new movie theatre that joins our network," said Met General Manager Peter Gelb. "Our expanded lineup of 11 live high-definition transmissions will bring many of the highlights of our Met season to the nation's opera lovers."

The Met: Live in HD series has captured international headlines as well as critical and popular acclaim for the in-theatre opera events. Reaching more than 900,000 fans around the world last season through live and encore presentations, the series offers opera fans exclusive behind-the-scenes features, live interviews with cast and crew, insightful short documentaries, and bird's-eye views of the productions, offering an unprecedented look at what goes into the staging of operas at one of the most famous opera companies in the world.

"We are excited to bring a third season of live and encore opera performances to hundreds of communities though our exclusive U.S. partnership with the Met," said Shelly Maxwell, NCM's senior vice president of program development and business operations. "The Met: Live in HD series has been a tremendous success and has developed a loyal fan base of opera lovers - young and old - in movie theatres around the country. We look forward to another thrilling season."

The 2008-09 planned schedule(1) for Metropolitan Opera: Live in High Definition is as follows:
 
Monday, September 22, 2008 OPENING NIGHT GALA - Starring Renee Fleming in fully staged performances of scenes from three different operas: Verdi's La Traviata (Act II), Massenet's Manon (Act III), and the final scene from Richard Strauss's Capriccio. Tenor Ramon Vargas and baritones Thomas Hampson and Dwayne Croft co-star. Met Music Director James Levine and Marco Armiliato conduct.
 
Saturday, October 11, 2008 SALOME - Starring soprano Karita Mattila with baritone Juha Uusitalo. Mikko Franck conducts.
 
Wednesday, October 22 - 7:00 p.m. local time
Encore presentation of SALOME
(Available in select theatres only.)
 
Saturday, November 8, 2008 DOCTOR ATOMIC - Directed by Penny Woolcock and starring Gerald Finley and Sasha Cooke, with Eric Owens and Richard Paul Fink. Alan Gilbert conducts. NEW PRODUCTION/MET PREMIERE
 
Wednesday, November 19 - 7:00 p.m. local time
Encore presentation of DOCTOR ATOMIC
(Available in select theatres only.)
 
Saturday, November 22, 2008 LA DAMNATION DE FAUST - Directed by Robert Lepage and starring Marcello Giordani, with Susan Graham and John Relyea. James Levine conducts. NEW PRODUCTION
 
Wednesday, December 3 - 7:00 p.m. local time
Encore presentation of LA DAMNATION DE FAUST
(Available in select theatres only.)
 
Saturday, December 20, 2008 THAIS - Renee Fleming stars in the title role of Massenet's Thais, with Thomas Hampson in John Cox's production. Jesus Lopez-Cobos conducts. NEW PRODUCTION
 
Wednesday, January 7 - 7:00 p.m. local time
Encore presentation of THAIS
(Available in select theatres only.)
 
Saturday, January 10, 2009 LA RONDINE - Nicolas Joel directs Puccini's La Rondine, starring Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna. Marco Armiliato conducts. NEW PRODUCTION
 
Wednesday, January 21 - 7:00 p.m. local time
Encore presentation of LA RONDINE
(Available in select theatres only.)
 
Saturday, January 24, 2009 ORFEO ED EURIDICE - Stephanie Blythe and Danielle de Niese star in Mark Morris's production of Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice. James Levine conducts.
 
Wednesday, February 4 - 7:00 p.m. local time
Encore presentation of ORFEO ED EURIDICE
(Available in select theatres only.)
 
Saturday, February 7, 2009 LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR - Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazon star in Mary Zimmerman's acclaimed production of Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor. Marco Armiliato conducts.
 
Wednesday, February 18 - 7:00 p.m. local time
Encore presentation of LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR
(Available in select theatres only.)
 
Saturday, March 7, 2009 MADAMA BUTTERFLY - Cristina Gallardo-Domas sings the title role of Puccini's Madama Butterfly in Anthony Minghella's stunning production. Marcello Giordani stars as Pinkerton. Patrick Summers conducts.
 
Wednesday, March 18 - 7:00 p.m. local time
Encore presentation of MADAMA BUTTERFLY
(Available in select theatres only.)
 
Saturday, March 21, 2009 LA SONNAMBULA - Natalie Dessay and Juan Diego Florez star in Mary Zimmerman's new production of Bellini's La Sonnambula, conducted by Evelino Pido. NEW PRODUCTION
 
Wednesday, April 1 - 7:00 p.m. local time
Encore presentation of LA SONNAMBULA
(Available in select theatres only.)
 
Saturday, May 9, 2009 LA CENERENTOLA - Elina Garanca stars in Rossini's bel canto Cinderella story, La Cenerentola. Lawrence Brownlee stars as her Prince Charming, Don Ramiro. Maurizio Benini conducts.
 
Wednesday, May 20 - 7:00 p.m. local time
Encore presentation of LA CENERENTOLA
(Available in select theatres only.)
 

About National CineMedia

NCM LLC operates the largest digital in-theatre network in North America through long-term agreements with its founding members, AMC Entertainment Inc., Cinemark USA Inc. (NYSE: CNK) and Regal Entertainment Group (NYSE: RGC), the three largest theatre operators in the U.S., and through multi-year agreements with several other theatre operators. NCM LLC produces and distributes its FirstLook pre feature program; cinema and lobby advertising products; comprehensive meeting and event services and other entertainment programming content. NCM LLC's national network includes over 17,000 screens of which approximately 14,700 are part of the company's Digital Content Network (DCN). NCM LLC's network covers 176 Designated Market Areas(R) (49 of the top 50). During 2007, approximately 685 million patrons attended movies shown in theatres currently included in the network (excluding Consolidated Theatres and Star Theatres). National CineMedia, Inc. (NASDAQ: NCMI) owns a 42.3% interest in and is the managing member of NCM LLC. For additional information, visit www.ncm.com or www.FathomEvents.com.

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. The Metropolitan Opera's 2008-09 season, the company's 125th anniversary, features six new productions (including one Met premiere), 18 revivals, Wagner's Ring cycle, and two gala celebrations. For more information about the Metropolitan Opera please visit www.metopera.org


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