We’ll have opera in Durango, it just won’t be from the Met

Durango will have live opera broadcasts starting as early as mid-August, Russell Allen, vice president of operations for Allen Theatres, said in a telephone interview this week.

“We will not be transmitting the MET: Live in HD, but operas and ballet from all over Europe,” Allen said.

If negotiations with Emerging Pictures work out, he said, the program will begin Aug. 12 in Durango with “Norma,” staged in Teatro Regio di Torino.

“All the operas will be sung in their original language, and they will be subtitled,” Allen said, “We’ve been offering this program for a few years here in Las Cruces. We screen the live performance in the morning on weekends, and then we present an encore version a few evenings later.”

The same scheme will be used in Durango, Allen said, at a ticket price of $15.

Since Allen Theatres bought out Storyteller Theatres, the company has been upgrading equipment, installing digital projectors one by one, Allen said.

“We now have four digital projectors at the Durango Mall. Eventually, we’ll have all nine converted plus the two at the Gaslight Theatre downtown. We began the process in October 2007 in our other theaters. We were among the first in the country.”

Live transmissions of opera, ballet, and theatrical productions have exploded, Allen said, because of the confluence of digital and satellite technologies.

“In the near future, we’ll be adding performances of ballet from Europe and Russia and theater from London, for example.”

Allen Theatres is celebrating its 100th anniversary in the Four Corners this year, Allen said.

“It’s a family business, started in 1912,” he said. “My father and brother own the company now. We’re based in Farmington. I moved to Las Cruces 30 years ago, and so I run operations from here.”

For information, visit www.allentheatresinc.com or call (575) 524-9933.

Efforts to contact Emerging Pictures were unsuccessful.

Judith Reynolds is a Durango writer, artist and critic. Reach her at jreynolds@durangoherald.com.