Once thought of as the domain of cultural elitists, opera has garnered a more universal audience, perhaps because of the accessible Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD annual broadcasts, featuring a series of ten outstanding productions, simulcast to movie theaters on Saturday afternoons — truly live from the stage of Gotham’s Met. Available in some 2,000 select US and international movie theaters, the series is presented domestically, through Fathom Events and its Digital Broadcast Network. To date, over 25 million tickets have been sold in over 70 countries, with the average ticket price hovering at about $23. Not bad, for a full-scale, lavish, stunningly staged production.
As animated on the big screen, the Live in HD simulcasts offer an up-close and personal look at the opera’s staging — beads of sweat-on-the-brow, and all — that is truly thrilling. Moreover, with the easy-to-read supertitles, it is simple to follow the story line, even if the libretto is one of opera’s more notoriously convoluted plots. Additionally, the Saturday afternoon simulcasts are often shown again on the following Wednesday evenings, with an encore screening. The transmissions are accompanied by engrossing intermission segments — behind the scenes, say, with the scenic or costume department, or an interview with a popular tenor or soprano, or an informative segment about a modern composer. It is always a rewarding afternoon, culturally, educationally, and visually.
Fathom Events is one of the largest overall distributors of content to movie theaters and is well-known for its domestic presentations of event-cinema, including high-definition performances of not only the Metropolitan Opera, but also dance and theater productions, such as performances of the Bolshoi Ballet and England’s National Theatre; additionally, Fathom presents screenings of classic films.
Tickets for The Met Live in HD 2018-19 season can be purchased online at Fathom Events or at participating theater box offices. For a complete list of theater locations, visit the Fathom Events website (theaters and participants are subject to change). Details on ordering tickets for the 2018-19 broadcasts vary from country to country.
The Met Live in HD series is made possible by a generous grant from its founding sponsor, the Neubauer Family Foundation. Global sponsorship is provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies. Transmission in Canada is made possible through the generosity of Jacqueline Desmarais, in memory of Paul G. Desmarais, Sr. Within months of their initial live transmissions, many of the operas from the Live in HD programs are shown on the Public Broadcasting System. The PBS series, Great Performances at the Met, is produced in association with PBS and WNET, with support from Toll Brothers, one of America’s luxury home builders. Additional funding is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.
The 2018-19 season began in early October with a broadcast of Aida, and continues with the following roster:
SAMSON ET DALILA (Camille Saint-Saëns) – New Production / First Time in HD
Saturday, October 20, 2018 – 12:55 p.m. ET/ 11:55 a.m. CT/ 10:55 a.m. MT/ 9:55 a.m. PT
Encores: Wednesday, October 24 – 1:00 and 6:30 p.m. local time
Saint-Saëns’s biblical epic Samson et Dalila stars Elīna Garanča and Roberto Alagna in the title roles; the pair was last seen together by HD audiences in the acclaimed 2010 transmission of Bizet’s Carmen. Laurent Naouri co-stars as the High Priest, with Elchin Azizov as the Philistine King Abimélech and Dmitry Belosselskiy as the Old Hebrew. Darko Tresnjak, the Tony Award–winning director of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, makes his Met debut directing the first new Met production of the opera in 20 years. Sir Mark Elder conducts.
LA FANCIULLA DEL WEST (Giacomo Puccini) – Revival
Saturday, October 27, 2018 – 12:55 p.m. ET/ 11:55 a.m. CT/ 10:55 a.m. MT/ 9:55 a.m. PT
Encores: Wednesday, October 31 – 1:00 and 6:30 p.m. local time
Soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek sings Puccini’s gun-slinging heroine in this romantic epic of the Wild West, alongside star tenor Jonas Kaufmann in the role of the outlaw Dick Johnson. Baritone Željko Lučić is the vigilante sheriff Jack Rance, and Marco Armiliato conducts.
MARNIE (Nico Muhly/Libretto Nicholas Wright) – Met Premiere / First Time in HD
Saturday, November 10, 2018 – 12:55 p.m. ET/ 11:55 a.m. CT/ 10:55 a.m. MT/ 9:55 a.m. PT
Encores: Wednesday, November 14 – 1:00 and 6:30 p.m. local time
Nico Muhly’s Marnie, based on Winston Graham’s novel, which in turn inspired Alfred Hitchock’s suspenseful thriller, has its U.S. premiere at the Met this season. Isabel Leonard stars in the title role opposite Christopher Maltman as her blackmailing husband Mark Rutland, Iestyn Davies as his brother Terry, Janis Kelly as Mrs. Rutland, and acclaimed mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves as Marnie’s mother. Robert Spano makes his company debut conducting.
THE MAGIC FLUTE (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart) – Revival; a special presentation of the festive opera for the holiday season, and not a simulcast of a live opera that afternoon.
Encore: Saturday, December 1, 2018 – 12:55 p.m. local time
Julie Taymor’s dazzling production returns to select cinemas this holiday season in an encore presentation of the company’s first-ever Live in HD transmission. James Levine conducts a winning ensemble including Matthew Polenzani, Nathan Gunn and René Pape in this abridged, English-language version of Mozart’s classic fable.
LA TRAVIATA (Giuseppe Verdi) – New Production
Saturday, December 15, 2018 – 12:55 p.m. ET/ 11:55 a.m. CT/ 10:55 a.m. MT/ 9:55 a.m. PT
Encores: Wednesday, December 19 – 1:00 and 6:30 p.m. local time
Met Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts Verdi’s timeless tragedy La Traviata. Directed by Michael Mayer, this new production features a dazzling 18th-century setting that changes with the seasons. Diana Damrau is the doomed heroine Violetta, opposite Juan Diego Flórez as her lover, Alfredo, and Quinn Kelsey as Alfredo’s protective father, Giorgio Germont.
ADRIANA LECOUVREUR (Francesco Cilea) – New Production / First Time in HD
Saturday, January 12, 2019 – 12:55 p.m. ET/ 11:55 a.m. CT/ 10:55 a.m. MT/ 9:55 a.m. PT
Encores: Wednesday, January 16 – 1:00 and 6:30 p.m. local time
For the first time at the Met, Anna Netrebko sings the title role of Adriana Lecouvreur, the great 18th-century actress in love with the military hero Maurizio, sung by Piotr Beczała. Gianandrea Noseda conducts Cilea’s tragedy, directed by Sir David McVicar, with the action partially set in a working replica of a Baroque theater. The cast also features Anita Rachvelishvili as the Princess of Bouillon, Adriana’s rival for Maurizio’s affections; Ambrogio Maestri as Michonnet, Adriana’s faithful friend; and Carlo Bosi as the duplicitous Abbé.
CARMEN (Georges Bizet) – Revival
Saturday, February 2, 2019 – 12:55 p.m. ET/ 11:55 a.m. CT/ 10:55 a.m. MT/ 9:55 a.m. PT
Encores: Wednesday, February 6 – 1:00 and 6:30 p.m. local time
Saturday, February 9 – 12:55 p.m. local time
Clémentine Margaine is opera’s ultimate seductress, opposite Roberto Alagna, who captivated Live in HD audiences as Don José in 2010. Louis Langrée conducts Sir Richard Eyre’s lively production, a favorite in the Met’s repertoire.
LA FILLE DU RÉGIMENT (Gaetano Donizetti) – Revival
Saturday, March 2, 2019 – 12:55 p.m. ET/ 11:55 a.m. CT/ 10:55 a.m. MT/ 9:55 a.m. PT
Encores: Wednesday, March 6 – 1:00 and 6:30 p.m. local time
Bel canto stars Pretty Yende and Javier Camarena team up for a feast of vocal fireworks on the Met stage. Maurizio Muraro is Sergeant Sulplice, with Stephanie Blythe as the outlandish Marquise of Berkenfield. Enrique Mazzola conducts.
DIE WALKÜRE (Richard Wagner) – Revival
Saturday, March 30, 2019 – 12:00 p.m. ET/ 11:00 a.m. CT/ 10:00 a.m. MT/ 9:00 a.m. PT
Encores: Wednesday, April 3 – 12:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. local time
The second installment of Wagner’s Ring cycle, Die Walküre, stars heroic soprano Christine Goerke as the warrior goddess Brünnhilde, whose encounter with the mortal twins Siegmund and Sieglinde, sung by Stuart Skelton and Eva-Maria Westbroek, leads her on a journey from Valhalla to earthbound humanity. Philippe Jordan conducts.
DIALOGUES DES CARMÉLITES (Francis Poulenc) – Revival / First Time in HD
Saturday, May 11, 2019 – 12:00 p.m. ET/ 11:00 a.m. CT/ 10:00 a.m. MT/ 9:00 a.m. PT
Encores: Wednesday, May 15 – 1:00 and 6:30 p.m. local time
Met Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin leads an accomplished ensemble in Poulenc’s devastating modern masterpiece of faith and martyrdom. Isabel Leonard is the young Blanche de La Force, opposite Met legend Karita Mattila as the First Prioress.
© 2018 Ruth J. Katz All Rights Reserved