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Movies, dining and things to do / Spokane and North Idaho

The Met: Live’s ‘Wozzeck’ is a timely work of art

Opera fans can look forward to the latest "The Met: Live" production, "Wozzeck," which will be screened at 9:55 a.m. Saturday at two area Regal Cinemas theaters, Northtown Mall and Coeur d'Alene's Riverstone Stadium.

Written between the years 1914 and 1922, a period that included composer Alban Berg's service in the Austro-Hungarian army, "Wozzeck" is a dark reflection of the human experience. The work is an adaptation of German playwright Georg Büchner's uncompleted play, and — as described by New York Times critic Anthony Tommasini — "One of the least cheerful pieces in the repertory, it tells the story of an impoverished and increasingly delusional soldier, driven to murder and suicide."

Yet, Tommasini added, "The issues that drive this wrenching, profound opera are especially timely: the impact of economic inequality on struggling families; the looming threats of war and environmental destruction; the rigid stratification — almost the militarization — of every element of society."

Baritone Peter Mattei takes on the title role, paired with soprano Elza van den Heever as the woman he desires. Yannick Nézet-Séguin serves as music director, while visual artist and director William Kentridge — according to the program notes — "unveils a bold new staging set in an apocalyptic wasteland."

The opera will screen an encore at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 15.