A request to simulcast the Metropolitan Opera in the Cape Henlopen High School theater is under consideration by the school board.
The Cape Henlopen Educational Foundation and the Rehoboth Film Society proposed the simulcast at the June 27 school board meeting as a way to add cultural enrichment to the Cape Region.
"The purpose is to expand an interest in the arts," said Rick Grier-Reynolds, president of CHEF.
Grier-Reynolds asked the board to consider allowing the group to simulcast opera 10 Saturdays a year for three years. The 2013-14 season would start Oct. 5 with "Eugene Onegin" and end May 10, 2014 with "Cenerentola" – the Italian version of Cinderella. In between, "La Boheme" would air April 5, "Tosca" Nov. 9 and "Cosi Fan Tutti" April 26 among others.
If approved, Cape High would be the first school in the state to offer a MET Opera simulcast. The commitment would also give the high school an opportunity to implement a MET-sponsored educational program that would allow students to attend four operas for free, Grier-Reynolds said.
Otherwise, ticket prices would run about $22, much lower than the $160 charged at the MET.
In order to bring a simulcast to the Cape High theater, a new, high-definition screen, projector and two satellite dishes will be needed. CHEF and RFS representatives said the groups would foot the $25,000 bill needed for equipment and installation through community fundraising.
A three-year commitment gives those groups a chance to recoup their investment and generate revenue, said Sue Early of the Rehoboth Film Society.
Superintendent Robert Fulton said the district needs to review the facility use on Saturday afternoons so that there is no conflict with student activities.
Otherwise, he said, it would be a great opportunity to open up the theater to the community.
"We are not used to people coming up to us to give us something; they are usually asking us for something instead," he said.
School board member and CHEF member Sara Wilkinson said she supports bringing opera to Cape especially since it won't cost the district anything.
"Seeing the costs they're willing to pay, it's a no-brainer. What a privilege this would be," she said.
The board will vote July 11 on whether to accept the MET Opera simulcast.