Electrosonic Systems Inc.(Electrosonic) was contracted by The Metropolitan Opera to install compact AV systems in five New York City-area schools, one in each borough, to enable them to participate in the Metropolitan Opera: Live in High Definition series of performances.
Live in High Definition, the Met’s groundbreaking series of operas transmitted live in high definition (HD) into movie theaters around the world, has proven to be one of the most influential of the new Met’s audience development initiatives. More than 600 venues in North America, Australia, Europe, and Japan are participating in the series this season—triple the number from last year. Now the Met also delivers to participating schools in New York City’s five boroughs as well. The educational institutions involved in the project are Susan E. Wagner High School in Staten Island; The High School for Enterprise, Business & Technology’s Grand Street Educational Campus in Brooklyn; Long Island City High School in Queens; Washington Irving High School in Manhattan; and The Lovinger Theater at Lehman College/City University of New York in the Bronx.
"What makes this project so wonderful is that it brings opera to kids and communities who wouldn’t normally have exposure to it," says Molly McBride of Sathya Production Services who coordinated the event. "All of the schools became so excited about it that they changed their curriculums in all of their departments so they could contextualize the music for the kids. Astonishingly, the kids were incredible. On the fist broadcast, they were fully engaged: applauding at the right spots, remaining silent. They were right there. This format was a great introduction to opera, enabling the students to see everything up close, better than a front row seat. They can focus on the drama and appreciate the story."
On site Electrosonic installed small Raxxess equipment racks and integrated AMX, Peavey, Netgear, Slingbox, and EchoStar satellite DVR equipment which permit the Met to uplink a live event to each school which will be presented to audiences in 16:9 1080i HD resolution on a 20 to 24 foot screen.
"The roll-out schedule for the Met’s new educational outreach program only allowed us four weeks to coordinate, engineer, procure, build, program, and install five separate AV systems. Against a very aggressive schedule, our team successfully delivered as planned on December 15, 2007 to meet the Met’s first Live in HD event offered at schools in all five boroughs of NYC," comments Electrosonic project manager David Girgenti.
"The ongoing coordination initiated by Molly McBride with Sathya Production Services paved the road to our success. It was also the professional efforts by the Met Opera, NYC’s Department of Education, I-Weiss Rigging, National CineMedia, and the technical staff provided by each school that contributed to this success," Girgenti continues.
"I liked working with Electrosonic very much," concludes McBride. "They got this project up and running in such a short period and cared for it as much as we did. They always went beyond what we would expect and delivered exactly what we would want. And the kids became quite attached to their onsite people. It's been a great experience."
For the Met’s Live in HD series, Mia Bongiovanni and Elena Park are supervising producers, and Louisa Briccetti and Victoria Warivonchik are producers. Jay Saks is audio producer.