The operas of Week 16 run the musical and theatrical gamut from bel canto to atonality and from tragedy to absurd satire. The nightly opera stream starts at 7:30 p.m. on the Met’s homepage and can be accessed for 20 hours. Please click on the title of each opera below for more information and the link to the full synopsis. To discover even more about the operas featured this week, check out the weekly guide along with articles, interviews, videos, podcasts, and educational resources.
Monday, June 29
Donizetti’s La Fille du Régiment – Starring Pretty Yende, Stephanie Blythe, Javier Camarena, Maurizio Muraro, and Kathleen Turner, conducted by Enrique Mazzola. From March 2, 2019.
A delightful comedy by bel canto master Gaetano Donizetti. This opera is best known for its tenor’s show-stopping aria “Ah! mes amis/Pour mon âme” with a total of 9 high C’s—a spectacular high note in the tenor voice—that often turn into 18 high C’s when tenors encore the piece. It also leaves room for improv: tonight’s soprano Pretty Yende made history ad-libbing in her native Zulu during the performance. This production also features actress Kathleen Turner in the comic speaking role of the Duchess of Krakenthorp.
Tuesday, June 30
Wagner’s Die Walküre – Starring Hildegard Behrens, Jessye Norman, Christa Ludwig, Gary Lakes, James Morris, and Kurt Moll, conducted by James Levine. From April 8, 1989.
The story of the Ring Cycle’s second opera is based on Norse mythology and Teutonic literature. Here we are introduced to one of the bravest and most noble characters in opera, Brünhilde, a Valkyrie (mythological female figure who chooses those who live and those who die in battles). This telecast features the legendary soprano Jessye Norman as Sieglinde.
Wednesday, July 1
Shostakovich’s The Nose – Starring Andrey Popov, Alexander Lewis, and Paulo Szot, conducted by Pavel Smelkov. From October 26, 2013.
Based on the comic and absurd short story by Nikolai Gogol, this surrealist opera tells the tale of a Russian bureaucrat whose nose has gone missing and is behaving like a real human being. This is Shostakovich’s first opera, a masterful work that blends folk music, popular music, and atonality and uses some formal musical structures to contain the operatic and theatrical “chaos” of satire and absurdity. Tonight’s inventive production by William Kentridge uses technology to great effect.
Thursday, July 2
Bizet’s Carmen – Starring Anita Hartig, Anita Rachvelishvili, Aleksandrs Antonenko, and Ildar Abdrazakov, conducted by Pablo Heras-Casado. From November 1, 2014.
The opera that launched the Metropolitan Opera’s Nightly Stream on March 16. Based on Prosper Merimée’s novella Carmen, this opera is always a crowd favorite. Some of its music—such as the “Habanera” or the “Toreador Song”— has crossed over into pop culture and often been a part of the soundtrack of commercials and films. For some cross-cultural fun check out the 1954 film Carmen Jones or the Hip Hopera version starring Beyoncé.
Friday, July 3
Mozart’s Don Giovanni – Starring Marina Rebeka, Barbara Frittoli, Mojca Erdmann, Ramón Vargas, Mariusz Kwiecien, Luca Pisaroni, and Štefan Kocán, conducted by Fabio Luisi. From October 29, 2011.
The Don Juan myth has stimulated the imagination of countless playwrights, poets, musicians, philosophers, and filmmakers since the first written version of his story in the early 17th century, the play El burlador de Sevilla y el convivado de piedra (The Trickster of Seville and the Stone Guest) by Tirso de Molina. The name Don Juan has entered the mainstream as a generic expression for a womanizer. For an endearing spin on the story watch the film Don Juan DeMarco, starring Johnny Depp as a mental patient convinced that he is the real Don Juan, and Marlon Brando as the psychiatrist who treats him and, in the process, reawakens the passion in his own marriage.
Saturday, July 4
Donizetti’s Don Pasquale – Starring Beverly Sills, Alfredo Kraus, Håkan Hagegård, and Gabriel Bacquier, conducted by Nicola Rescigno. From January 11, 1979.
An old man marries an intelligent young woman who outsmarts him. A comedy that features a bass in its title role. Considered one Donizetti’s comedic masterpieces, this opera was an immediate success and has remained one of the most popular Italian operas. In this 1979 production, American superstar soprano Beverly Sills bid farewell to the Metropolitan Opera.
Sunday, July 5
Rossini’s La Donna del Lago – Starring Joyce DiDonato, Daniela Barcellona, Juan Diego Flórez, John Osborn, and Oren Gradus, conducted by Michele Mariotti. From March 14, 2015.
Based on Sir Walter Scott’s narrative poem, The Lady of the Lake, this work is considered Rossini’s first Romantic opera. It is the tale of a love triangle: the soprano protagonist, Elena, is pursued by two tenors, but fortunately, after some drama, the story does have a happy ending.
Top photo: Bigstock