Puccini with Popcorn: Arts Organizations Battle for the Big Screen

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Growing numbers of arts organizations are seeking to build their audiences through high-definition broadcasts. The latest entrant into the field is New York City Ballet, whose December 13 performance of "The Nutcracker" will be transmitted to more than 500 movie theaters around the country.

Cultural institutions like the Ballet see HD transmissions as a way increase revenues and help bolster their art forms' popularity. Skeptics wonder whether the simulcasts are siphoning audiences off from live performances while changing artistic standards. What's more, organizations face increasingly complex questions about revenue-sharing for their artists and stagehands as performances are repackaged in new formats.

In this podcast, host Naomi Lewin explores these and other questions with three experts: Robin Pogrebin, the cultural reporter at the New York Times; David Patrick Stearns, the classical music critic of the Philadelphia Inquirer and a contributor to WRTI Radio; and Barry Rebo, a managing partner at Emerging Pictures, which distributes performances by companies like La Scala opera house, the Royal Opera House and the Bolshoi Ballet.

Weigh in: Do you attend simulcasts of operas, orchestras or ballet companies in movie theaters? What do you like or dislike about them? Leave your comments below.