Met Opera HD in Cinema Encore Broadcasts Over the Summer

here’s the deal,

I am a little late reporting on this item, but on the theory that late is better than never, here goes.  Metropolitan Opera announced encore performances of four of its HD in Cinema series this summer:  http://www.metopera.org/Season/In-Cinemas/.  I covered the Met In Cinema Series in my blog post titled Affordable Opera, Part I.  The summer showings are not live; you will be watching a high quality recording – hence the use of the term ‘encore’.

detour to Philadelphia,

One surprise I received in doing some research on live opera being performed this summer in the mid-Atlantic region was an article in Philly.com (Philadelphia Inquirer’s website) by critic Peter Dobrin, titled “Classical Music In and Around Philly This Summer.”  For opera, he only listed the four Met HD in Cinema encore broadcasts.  I find it difficult to believe there is no live opera in Philadelphia this summer.  However, David Patrick Stearn, the Inquirer’s other classical music critic had a piece on Philly.com titled “Summer Preview: Classical Music Within a Day’s Drive,“ and there was no mention of live opera in Philadelphia this summer.  Too bad he only looked north of Philadelphia for his article; he is also associated with classical music station, WQXR in NYC, so maybe Philadelphia to New York is his area of focus. Regardless, I encourage Philadelphians to also venture south and west for some live opera this summer, and all of us to try live opera in different cities.  Opera fans in the DC area have Wolf Trap Opera and in Pittsburgh there is SummerFest 2016 (see Elizabeth Bloom’s recent article, “Opera Theater of Pittsburgh’s SummerFest Will Happen In Usual Places”).

back to the Met HD in Cinema Series,

To my chagrin, I must report that Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca was broadcast this past Wednesday and the cast with Patricia Racette and Robert Alagna looked terrific.  Ms. Racette starred in a Washington National Opera production of Tosca a few years ago and she was superb.  I have seen the final three encores in HD format and can recommend them all.  Tosca will be followed on June 29 by L’Elisir D’Amore (The Elixir of Love) by Gaetano Donizetti.  This is a fine production with power diva Anna Nebtrebko as Adina and Met Opera favorite Matthew Polenzani as Nemorino.  I think of this comedy as a slice of chiffon pie, something to be greatly enjoyed, though not too often.  I think Anna’s acting here is not commensurate with her singing but her singing is outstanding. 

 Anna Netrebko as Adina and Matthew Polenzani as Nemorino in  L'Elisir d'Amore .  Photo by Ken Howard; courtesy of Metropolitan Opera.

Anna Netrebko as Adina and Matthew Polenzani as Nemorino in L'Elisir d'Amore.  Photo by Ken Howard; courtesy of Metropolitan Opera.

Next in the lineup is La Boheme by Puccini on July 13.  La Boheme is the most performed opera, and rightly so.  The story Is loaded with charm and pathos and the music is some of Puccini’s most beautiful.  This performance features a fine cast headed by Kristine Opolais as Mimi and Vittoria Grigolo as Rodolfo.  I tend to favor the sopranos but I must admit that Mr. Grigolo has a gorgeous voice.  In my opinion, it doesn’t have the gravitas of Pavaroti’s voice, but is more like a trumpet played beautifully.  I was anxious to hear Ms. Opolais because she has appeared in a number of recent Met productions and to very strong reviews.  Her performance in this opera was as a last minute fill-in for Anita Hartwig who came down with the flu.  Ms. Opolais starred in Madama Butterfly one night at the Met and the next morning was called upon to step in that night to play Mimi.  Wow!  I am so impressed she could do that.  She sang beautifully but was more effective at portraying a sickly woman than one enraptured by love.  If seeing this version of Boheme might prevent you from attending the Wolf Trap Opera production on August 5, by all means, put off seeing the HD version. 

 Kristine Opolais as Mimi and Vittorio Grigolo as Rodolfo in La Boheme.  Photo by Marty Sohl; courtesy of Metropolitan Opera.

Kristine Opolais as Mimi and Vittorio Grigolo as Rodolfo in La Boheme.  Photo by Marty Sohl; courtesy of Metropolitan Opera.

The final encore broadcast of the summer is the Mozart classic Cosi Fan Tutte, a comedy with a sexual edge, an edge I gather that Mr. Mozart liked to travel.  This production is especially fun because of a great cast.  It would be hard to pick a better current day one than Isabel Leonard, Daniel de Niese, Susanna Phillips, Rodion Pogossov, and Matthew Polenzani.  I will only comment on Susanna Philips: her star is rising, her smile is morning sunshine, and her voice is pure honey.  You can also catch her in Boheme above playing Musetta; her version of the aria Quando me'n vo is a show stopper. 

 Matthew Polenzani as Ferrando, Susanna Phillips as Fiordiligi, Isabel Leonard as Dorabella, and Rodion Pogossov as Guglielmo in  Cosi Fan Tutte .  Photo by Marty Sohl; courtesy of Metropolitan Opera.

Matthew Polenzani as Ferrando, Susanna Phillips as Fiordiligi, Isabel Leonard as Dorabella, and Rodion Pogossov as Guglielmo in Cosi Fan Tutte.  Photo by Marty Sohl; courtesy of Metropolitan Opera.

however, consider this,

Ticket prices for these encore broadcasts are somewhat reduced compared to operas broadcast live. Nonetheless, you will still drop about $12-20 to see one, depending on the opera and theater.  That’s not bad given the price of movies these days, and you see it on a really big screen with great sound in a cloistered environment.  Plus, there is plenty of ticket availability compared to the live broadcasts.  There is another option to see these, however, if the timing or the setting doesn’t work for you.  You can rent any of these four operas by signing up for Met Opera on Demand.  You can sign up for the monthly or yearly plan, but you can also rent the operas individually for $4.99 each for a 48-hour period.  So, you can have your opera and cake (and eat it too).  Check out the Met Opera on Demand website for information on devices that can stream and play the videos.  http://www.metopera.org/Season/On-Demand/ 

And speaking of live opera this summer,

I noticed in the Washington Post Weekend Section these listings:

Beetovern’s Fidelio – June 25-26, Atlas Performing Arts Center (atlas arts.org), 202-399-7993

Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Medium – June 25, Bel Cantanti Opera (belcantanti.com), tickets online or at door

And speaking of live opera for the Fall season,

Ok, I was not speaking of that, but it is worth noting that single ticket sales for the Met's 2016-2017 season start on Sunday, June 26.  If you can get to the Met this year, do it!