In my blog post, “Affordable Opera, Part 2,” I discussed the broadcast of Met Opera videos periodically by PBS television stations: “A great way to view many of these [Met Opera] videos for free is to tune into the Great Performances at the Met broadcasts on PBS television. Check here to track these down in your area. I simply have my DVR set to record Great Performances at the Met. Over the last two years I have recorded about 25 opera performances this way. I find viewing these on my own devices has a few advantages: I can pause the videos when I leave the room, or I can watch them in portions and even watch them multiple times; also, when I miss something, I can use my remote control to go back a few seconds to see it again. Of course, the selection on PBS is limited and the availability is episodic.”
On this Saturday, April 23, at 11 am, WETA PBS station in Washington DC will broadcast Rigoletto, which was originally broadcast by the Metropolitan Opera in Cinemas on May 17, 2013; this is a re-broadcast. The broadcast is not part of the Met's regular series. Set your recording devices if you get this channel. It is free!!!
First of all, Rigoletto is a great Verdi opera. For much of my early opera love, it was my favorite opera. It has a great story with a surprise and tragic ending, and some really beautiful, dramatic music. If you haven’t seen it, this is a good chance. The story for this production is moved from regal times to the Las Vegas era of Frank Sinatra's Rat Pack. It is an interesting transformation. It stars Piotr Beczala, a leading modern tenor, and Diana Damrau, a current diva. I saw this production in a cinema broadcast. I highly recommend it. In the broadcast I saw, one of those unanticipated moments happened. Diana Damrau was being interviewed by Rene Fleming, another modern day diva. Ms.Damrau has two children. They allowed her young son to join her on stage. The transformation was amazing. This regal diva instantaneously changed to a mirthful Bavarian mom when her son joined her. Ms. Damrau comes across as Gilda in Rigoletto, as a pliable character, but then look at her power and the beauty of her voice as she plays the Queen of Night in Mozart’s The Magic Flute in the clip below from Youtube.com (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpVV9jShEzU). .