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Opera Fans Await HD Tickets in White Plains Cinema

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - Grace Speare was one of about 25 opera lovers lined up outside the City Center theater in White Plains, anxiously awaiting holding season tickets for the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD.

"I got up at 5 a.m. just to be ready on time and not have to wait in a long line," said Speare, a Hartsdale resident who began getting season tickets about three years ago. "We're very fortunate that we have the [operas shown here] because we don't have to go to the city. It's inconvenient: the traffic, the parking, the expenses."

Season tickets to watch 11 Metropolitan Opera shows broadcast live at the City Center theater costs between $18 and $27, which is a steal, according to Speare.

"In the city we'd have to pay $250 to $350, and it feels like you're at the Met here. If something goes wrong, you see it," said Speare, who started going to operas as a child. "I've been to operas in different countries, and nobody beats the Met."

The Metropolitan Opera, often called the Met, launched its Live in HD showings in Dec. 2006 at 56 theaters in four countries. The digital program is now shown in more than 1,500 theaters in 51 countries, according to an email from Jennifer Cooper, a press representative from the Metropolitan Opera.

Local fans at the New Rochelle Stadium 18 and City Center theaters, including Barbara Block, have helped MET sales creep up to 2.6 million Live in HD tickets last season.

"Each time I see [an opera] this is my comment: 'That was the best one.,'" said Block, a White Plains resident who stumbled upon opera after Broadway show prices skyrocketed about six years ago. "This is the best bargain. It's got drama and acting and the whole business."

Have you been to Metropolitan Live in HD shows? How was your experience? Opera fans, what show are you most looking forward to this season? Email thoughts to and we'll include your responses in future coverage.

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