The Metropolitan Opera, whose 2018-2019 season runs from September 24 through May 11, will initiate their series of broadcasts into movie theaters, around the U.S. and abroad, on Saturday, October 6. There are ten operas that will be broadcast live in the new season. My impression is that this series is quite popular in the Washington DC area, in no small measure due to the Met’s imprimatur; my wife and I typically make a homage to Lincoln Center in NYC at least once or twice a year. In my area, the good reserved cinema seats sell out months in advance for the “live” broadcasts that occur simultaneously with the performance. An bonus attraction for the In Cinemas broadcasts is the interviews during intermission with performers and staff for the opera, and insights given into the inner workings of the Met. Also appealing is that the dress is very casual, and popcorn is allowed in the theaters.
I keep harping on one point, so here it is one more time: though I personally enjoy attending the In Cinemas broadcasts, they do not match the experience of attending the live event itself. Nothing compares to being there, even without the popcorn.
Season preview video from Youtube.
Met live HD in Cinemas lineup for the 2018-2019 season:
· Aida: Oct 6 (live), 10 (re-broadcast)
· Samson and Dalila: Oct 20 (live), 24 (re-broadcast)
· La Fanciulla del West: Oct 27 (live), 31 (re-broadcast)
· Marnie: Nov 10 (live), 14 (re-broadcast)
· La Traviata: Dec 15 (live), 19 (re-broadcast)
· Adriana Lecouvreur: Jan 12 (live) 16 (re-broadcast)
· Carmen: Feb 2 (live), 6 (re-broadcast)
· La Fille du Regiment: Mar 2 (live), 6 (re-broadcast)
· Die Walkure: Mar 30 (live), 3 (re-broadcast)
· Dialogues des Carmelites: May 11 (live), 15 (re-broadcast)
Some things to know: Showtimes are Saturdays at noon, 12:30 pm, or 12:55 pm – check when you buy your ticket. The re-broadcast (termed an “encore”) of each opera typically takes place on the following Wednesday; these are not as popular as the live broadcasts on Saturdays, so good seats usually continue to be available closer to performance time, often the day of. Individual theaters may have overriding policies as to when tickets for specific showings can be purchased; check with your local theater. Each opera listed on the Met in Cinemas website includes a Find Theater button that will lead to a site where you can enter your city/state address and see theaters in your area (note: I have found that entering your zipcode does not work). Wikipedia provides a history of this program. Tickets are in the in the $20-25 range, with discounts for children and seniors. To select a performance and buy tickets, click here.
Intermissions are a little tricky. When intermission begins don’t head for the restrooms just yet; the performer and staff interviews come next. After the interviews, there is a 15-20 minute intermission when you can leave for the restrooms and refill your soda without missing anything.
What interests me that's coming up: In general, the Met holds lord over most other opera companies in the U.S. for two reasons: first, resources and the size of the venue; nobody can do spectacles like the Met. Secondly, the Met imprimatur signifies that if you perform at the Met then you have made it in the opera world; so, the Met can attract the best singers, musicians, and creative staff, not that they always do.
The Met has done a good job of picking out the operas on their 2018-2019 schedule that I would most like to see this year for live HD in Cinemas broadcasta; here are a few reasons:
Anna Netrebko – possibly the reigning top diva in the world, she appears in Aida and Adriana Lecouvreur. Aida is one of Verdi’s greats, and this is Netrebko’s first time in the role (note: Sondra Radanovsky, also a stand out diva, rotates in the role with Anna for the other live performances at the Met; always check to see if an opera you want to attend has your preferred cast on the date you wish to go). I have not seen Adriana Lecouvreur before and read that it is not a great opera, but is a great star vehicle; in this opera Anna is paired with tenor favorite Piotr Beczala.
Samson and Dalila and La Fanciulla del West I have seen recently, and my opinion of both these operas has risen quite high. With Samson you get Elina Garanča and Robert Alagna, top rated talent (read Anne Midgette’s review here). With La Fanciulla you get a chance to hear top tenor Jonas Kaufmann, who hasn’t been around in awhile, and focus on the beautiful Puccini music.
Nico Muhly’s Marnie – okay, I’m just curious and it has Isabel Leonard and is based on the Alfred Hitchcock movie.
Dialogues des Carmelites – This opera by Francis Poulenc has an unusual opera structure. The story of nuns committing martyrdom sounds depressing, but again it has Ms. Leonard.
La Fille du Regiment – I can do Pretty Yende. I also am anxious to hear tenor Javier Camarena who has been getting rave reviews. A knee operation caused me to miss this one in DC.
Get your seats early. Better yet, go see these jewels in the perfect setting, the Big Apple!