On Friday, Aug. 20, the Farnsworth Forum will bring Metropolitan Opera General Manager Peter Gelb to the Strand Theatre, 345 Main St., at 11 a.m. for an interview with Farnsworth Director of Education Roger Dell.

The discussion will include the role of opera in America, crossover music, live high definition broadcasts of Met operas in movie theaters around the world and many other topics including the future of classical music. There will be a question and answer period following the lecture.

Gelb’s career has followed a singular arc that began with his teen years as an usher at the Metropolitan Opera and led to his appointment, in August 2006, as the storied company’s 16nth general manager. After taking the helm at the Met, Gelb began to launch initiatives aimed at revitalizing opera and connecting it to a wider audience. One of his fundamental goals is to recruit the world’s great theater directors to enhance the theatricality of the Met’s productions and complement the extraordinary musical standards established by Music Director James Levine.

Gelb also is committed to securing more engagements each season from the world’s top singers. One of the most successful and groundbreaking of his new initiatives is The Met: Live in HD, a Peabody and Emmy Award-winning series of live performance transmissions shown in high definition in movie theaters, including the Strand, across six continents. The series has sold nearly five million tickets since its inception in December 2006.

Under Gelb, the Metropolitan Opera has once again taken a leadership role among opera houses and other arts organizations, not only in the United States but also around the world, providing a model for other groups with its groundbreaking artistic and public initiatives. He shares his message regularly through keynote and featured addresses at conferences here and abroad including at Harvard University, Yale University, New York University, the Miller Theater at Columbia University, Showa University in Japan, the European Opera Conference in Paris, the Chautauqua Institution, the American Symphony Orchestra League, the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, the American Academy in Berlin and the MIDEM conference.

Time magazine named Gelb a 2008 honoree of the Time 100 list of the world’s most influential people. In January 2010, he was named an Officier dans l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the Cultural Minister of France. In June 2008, he received an honorary doctorate from the Macaulay Honors College of the City University of New York.

The Farnsworth Forum began in the summer of 2008 as a series in which America’s leading public intellectuals are invited to give their views on the state of the art world. The lectures bring several speakers a year to the Midcoast to discuss the issues surrounding the visual arts, the performing arts, literature and other aspects of culture during lively interviews with Dell. Past speakers have included philosopher Arthur Danto, Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Philippe de Montebello and Pulitzer-prize winning author David McCullough.

The fee is $30, $25 for museum members. Tickets are available by calling the Strand Theatre weekdays between noon and 4 p.m. at 594-0070; by visiting the Strand’s walk-up box office window daily from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.; or online at rocklandstrand.com. For more information, visit farnsworthmuseum.org/education.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to dernest@villagesoup.com.