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La Scala's season-opening "Carmen" to air live at cinemas, including the Charles

Dec. 7 is a bid deal every year in Milan, for that's when La Scala, the famed opera house, opens its season. This is one of the most paparazzi-laden nights on the Continent, when everyone who is anyone turns out.

Time was when the rest of us could only see the pictures of the glitzy arrivals and wonder what it must be like inside the elegant opera house with all those celebs crawling around. Now, you, too, can get in on the action, and at a fraction of the ticket prices over there. The series of HD opera transmissions presented by Emerging Pictures includes a live broadcast of Monday's La Scala opening -- a new production of Bizet's "Carmen."

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The cast includes Anita Rachvelishvili (your guess is as good as mine) in the title role and the two of the

buzziest male stars in opera right now, Jonas Kaufmann as Don Jose and Erwin Schrott as Escamillo. (The indefatigable

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reports that Kaufmann missed Friday's dress rehearsal due to an indisposition, but is expected to come through on Monday. You'll find some sneak-peek photos on that site.) Daniel Barenboim conducts. The production is by Emma Dante.

Locally, "Carmen" will be simulcast at noon Monday at The Charles, where another live simulcast will be shown Dec. 22 -- "Il Trovatore" from the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona.

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