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Not since the Zeffirelli La Traviata has there been a Metropolitan Opera performance as hyped as Boris Godunov. But for those of us who can't make it to New York (or splurge on $200 seats), the Met is bringing the show to your local cinema.

The Met Live in HD series ? which screens live performances at movie theaters nationwide ? serves as the ultimate democratizer. This season (which runs through June) includes 12 operas that are all heavy-hitters, from Verdi's Don Carlo to the newest interpretation of Wagner's Die Walküre.

But if you only watch one, make it Saturday's matinee showing of Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov.

Starring the renowned, young (by opera standards) bass René Pape, this new production has all the trappings of a spectacle: a 75 piece orchestra, a dramatic 16th century set, a 100-plus person chorus and, of course, one of the world's leading voices in the title role.

Neither a seven-hour epic nor a frivolous romance, Boris Godunov is great for opera-newbies because it tells such a meaty story ? the psychological consequences of an ambitious tyrant's rise to power.

The HD technology makes every screening visually impressive, but a handful of theaters are showing it in IMAX, which offers the full experience of seeing it live at Lincoln Center... minus the bathroom lines.

Boris Godunov will be screened live at theaters across the country on Saturday, Oct. 23 at 12 p.m. EST/ 9 a.m. PST.

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