Last night I went to the opera at The Met and it only cost $NZ25 (approx $9.50). OK OK so I didn’t travel to New York City but I did see a production of Don Pasquale. This is part of The Met’s enormously successful Peabody and Emmy Award-winning series of transmissions into movie theatres, which enters its sixth season in 2011-12. It currently reaches more than 1,500 theaters in 53 countries.
It was almost like being there, with the added bonus of seeing what went on behind the curtains when the scenes changed. We were entertained with various shots of the audience, settling down before the performance began and then during the breaks for scene changes. And we saw the principals talking backstage with other cast members.
The music was fantastic as was the singing. This performance featured Anna Netrebko, Matthew Polenzani, Mariusz Kwiecien, and John Del Carlo in the title role. The Musical Director was James Levine. When this production premiered in 2006, the New York Times called it “brilliant” and “wonderful.”
Unfortunately I have since learned that Levine slipped while vacationing recently and has had to withdraw from all commitments with The Met.
The main benefactors are the Neubauer Family Foundation and Bloombergs and those of us who can’t get to The Met thank them for their generosity. This was an encore performance from the 2010 series and the 2011 series will screen from November. I am certainly looking forward to that.
We are told “The Metropolitan Opera’s 2011-12 stage season will feature the world’s leading singers, conductors, and stage directors in seven new productions and nineteen revivals, including a world premiere, a Met premiere, and the first complete performances of a new Der Ring des Nibelungen cycle directed by Robert Lepage.
The season includes the Met premiere of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena, conducted by Marco Armiliato and directed by David McVicar (the beginning of an ambitious multiseason project to produce all three of Donizetti’s famous “Queen” operas directed by McVicar); The Enchanted Island, the world premiere of a Baroque pastiche with an original welcome… libretto by Jeremy Sams and set to the music of Handel, Vivaldi, Rameau, and others, conducted by William Christie and directed by Phelim McDermott; the Met debuts of Tony Award winning directors Michael Grandage and Des McAnuff with new productions of Don Giovanni, led by Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi, and Faust, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin; a new production of Massenet’s Manon conducted Fabio Luisi and directed by Laurent Pelly; and Robert Lepage’s productions of Siegfried and Götterdämmerung, the third and fourth installments of Wagner’s Ring cycle.”
These performances are being shown in bijoux cinemas around New Zealand. another added bonus is that in these cinemas one may take their wine into the theatre and at intermission, one may have a meal. We ordered ours before the performance as did most others, so the 25 minute interval was just enough time to eat our soup – Leek and potato and freshly baked bread. Yummy.