- Associated Press - Friday, January 7, 2011

LONDON (AP) - The English National Opera said Saturday that its new production of “Lucrezia Borgia” would be broadcast live in three dimensions to movie theaters around the U.K. _ a feat it claimed as an operatic first.

3-D technology has taken the cinematic and broadcast world by storm following the runaway success of James Cameron’s 3-D epic “Avatar.”

Filmmakers have piled on the 3-D movies, while television stations and purveyors of live sports have also gotten into the act, with ESPN’s 3-D network due to begin broadcasting content 24 hours a day next month.

The English National Opera said Saturday that its production, due to be shown on February 23, will be shown to opera fans at movie theaters as well as Sky 3D, British Sky Broadcasting Group PLC’s three dimensional channel, and in the more traditional 2-D format at selected international cinemas.

The English National Opera says the live 3-D broadcast is the world’s first, but it isn’t the only opera house thinking three dimensionally. On Thursday California-based RealD Inc. announced that it had been collaborating with London’s Royal Opera House on “Carmen in 3D,” due to premiere on February 6 at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

The English National Opera’s “Lucrezia Borgia” is directed by Mike Figgis, best known for films such as “Leaving Las Vegas” and “Internal Affairs.”