The Metropolitan Opera in Your Homes—Week 25

Week 25 is dedicated to operatic masterpieces and visionary, groundbreaking composers of the 20th century and beyond. The nightly opera stream starts at 7:30 p.m. on the Met’s homepage and can be accessed for 22 hours. Please click on the title of each opera below for more information and the link to the full synopsis. 

Monday, August 31
Strauss’s Elektra – Starring Nina Stemme, Adrianne Pieczonka, Waltraud Meier, Burkhard Ulrich, and Eric Owens, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. From April 30, 2016.

One of Richard Strauss’ powerful collaborations with genius librettist Hugo von Hofmannsthal, this opera is a modernistic take on the Greek tragedy by Sophocles.

Tuesday, September 1
Britten’s Peter Grimes – Starring Patricia Racette, Anthony Dean Griffey, and Anthony Michaels-Moore, conducted by Donald Runnicles. From March 15, 2008.

The literary source for this mid-twentieth-century operatic masterpiece is “Letter XXII: Peter Grimes” in George Crabbe’s The Borough, a collection of poems arranged as a series of 24 letters. A huge success, this opera was, in Britten’s words: “a subject very close to my heart — the struggle of the individual against the masses. The more vicious the society, the more vicious the individual.” The eponymous anti-hero is one of the most complex roles for dramatic or heroic tenor in the operatic repertoire.

Wednesday, September 2
John Adams’s Nixon in China – Starring Kathleen Kim, Janis Kelly, Robert Brubaker, Russell Braun, James Maddalena, and Richard Paul Fink, conducted by John Adams. From February 12, 2011.

This pioneering opera premiered in 1987. Inspired by President Nixon’s 1972 visit to China, Adams’ work is an enduring and impactful contribution to contemporary American opera. 

Thursday, September 3
Berg’s Lulu – Starring Marlis Petersen, Susan Graham, Daniel Brenna, Paul Groves, Johan Reuter, and Franz Grundheber, conducted by Lothar Koenigs. From November 21, 2015.

Alban Berg himself adapted the libretto for his opera from Frank Wedekind’s two plays featuring the notorious character of Lulu: Erdgeist (Earth Spirit) and Die Büchse der Pandora (Pandora’s Box). Berg mixed genres and included a silent film at the opera’s midpoint to advance the action, With the original film lost, each production requires a new film to be shot and some stage directors forego the film completely. The story of the downfall of the young femme fatale, Lulu, is fascinatingly depicted in Berg’s progressive music.  

Friday, September 4 and Saturday, September 5
The Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess – Starring Angel Blue, Golda Schultz, Latonia Moore, Denyce Graves, Frederick Ballentine, Eric Owens, Alfred Walker, and Donovan Singletary, conducted by David Robertson. From February 1, 2020.

This 1935 opera by American composer George Gershwin, with a libretto written by author DuBose Heyward and lyricist Ira Gershwin is one of the best-known and most frequently performed American operas. It was adapted from Dorothy Heyward and DuBose Heyward’s play Porgy, itself an adaptation of DuBose Heyward’s 1925 novel of the same name

Sunday, September 6
Thomas Adès’s The Tempest – Starring Audrey Luna, Isabel Leonard, Iestyn Davies, Alek Shrader, Alan Oke, William Burden, Toby Spence, and Simon Keenlyside, conducted by Thomas Adès. From November 10, 2012.

Based on Shakespeare’s last play, The Tempest, this opera by English composer Thomas Adès and Australian playwright Meredith Oakes premiered at the Royal Opera House in London in 2004. Oakes wrote the libretto by compacting much of Shakespeare’s text into its essence. This work is one of the greatest achievements in contemporary opera.  

Top photo: Bigstock

About Maria-Cristina Necula (53 Articles)
Maria-Cristina Necula’s published work includes the newly-released "The Don Carlos Enigma: Variations of Historical Fictions," "Life in Opera: Truth, Tempo and Soul," two translations: "Europe à la carte" and Molière’s "The School for Wives," and three poetry collections. Her articles and interviews have appeared in "Classical Singer" Magazine, "Das Opernglas," "Studies in European Cinema," and "Opera News." As a classically-trained singer she has performed in the New York City area at Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, Florence Gould Hall, and the Westchester Broadway Theatre, and has presented on opera at The Graduate Center, Baruch, The City College of New York, and UCLA Southland. She speaks six languages, two of which she honed at the Sorbonne University in Paris and the University of Vienna, and she holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from The Graduate Center. Discover more about her work at www.mariacristinanecula.com.