Welcome to Week 4 of the Met’s Nightly Opera Stream! From ancient Egypt to the American Wild West, from Windsor to Naples (relocated to 1950’s Coney Island), travel through heartbreaking love stories and comedic plots on the operatic waves of six genius composers. Each opera begins at 7:30 p.m. on the Met’s homepage and is available to stream for 20 hours.
Monday, April 6
Verdi’s Aida – Starring Anna Netrebko, Anita Rachvelishvili, Aleksandrs Antonenko, Quinn Kelsey, Dmitry Belosselskiy, and Ryan Speedo Green, conducted by Nicola Luisotti. From October 6, 2018 – Read synopsis
This opera was commissioned to celebrate the opening of the Khedivial Opera House in Cairo, the oldest opera house in Africa. The passionate, tragic story of a love triangle—or, as some have said, “a love pyramid”—set in ancient Egypt abounds with sublime, verdant music that is at once larger-than-life and intimate.
Tuesday, April 7
Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West (The Girl of the West) – Starring Deborah Voigt, Marcello Giordani, and Lucio Gallo, conducted by Nicola Luisotti. From January 8, 2011 – Read synopsis
Set in a mining camp during the Gold Rush era, here is opera’s own Western! Based on an American author’s play—David Belasco’s The Girl of the Golden West (available to read on Project Gutenberg)—this opera was commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera itself. Native American music—Pueblo music of the Zuni people—is featured in the traveling minstrel’s aria early in the opera. The 1938 movie, The Girl of the Golden West, is based on the play with songs by Sigmund Romberg (buy or rent on Amazon).
Wednesday, April 8
Verdi’s Falstaff – Starring Lisette Oropesa, Angela Meade, Stephanie Blythe, Jennifer Johnson Cano, Paolo Fanale, Ambrogio Maestri, and Franco Vassallo, conducted by James Levine. From December 14, 2013 – Read synopsis
Verdi’s final opera, composed while he was nearing the age of 80, is adapted from Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor and scenes from Part I and Part II of Henry IV. It is Verdi’s second comedy within more than fifty years of creating operatic tragedies. The composer commented on his choice: “After having relentlessly massacred so many heroes and heroines, I have at last the right to laugh a little.”
Thursday, April 9
Wagner’s Parsifal – Starring Katarina Dalayman, Jonas Kaufmann, Peter Mattei, Evgeny Nikitin, and René Pape, conducted by Daniele Gatti. From March 2, 2013 – Read synopsis
We return to Richard Wagner with an opera based on the 13th-century epic poem, Parzival, by Wolfram von Eschenbach (Vol. 1 and Vol. 2)—the story of the Arthurian knight, Percival, on the quest for the Holy Grail. This is Wagner’s last completed opera.
Friday, April 10
Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette – Starring Diana Damrau, Vittorio Grigolo, Elliot Madore, and Mikhail Petrenko, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda. From January 21, 2017 – Read synopsis
Beautiful and heartrending, this opera captures the timeless love story of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in refined, unforgettable music. There have been numerous cinematic adaptations of the play, but one of my favorites remains Franco Zeffirelli’s film (buy or rent on Amazon).
Saturday, April 11
Donizetti’s Don Pasquale – Starring Anna Netrebko, Matthew Polenzani, Mariusz Kwiecien, and John Del Carlo, conducted by James Levine. From November 13, 2010 – Read synopsis
An old man marries an intelligent young woman who outsmarts him. It’s time for another comedy—and one that features a bass in its title role! Considered Donizetti’s comedic masterpiece, this opera was an immediate success and has remained one of the most popular Italian comic operas.
Sunday, April 12
Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte – Starring Amanda Majeski, Serena Malfi, Kelli O’Hara, Ben Bliss, Adam Plachetka, and Christopher Maltman, conducted by David Robertson. From March 31, 2018 – Read synopsis
“Così fan tutte” means “so do they all”—and “all” refers to women. A hilarious comedy about gender stereotypes, questioning women’s fidelity in love. Here is a sparkling and exquisite Mozart, painting the action with memorable arias, ensembles, orchestration, and overall musical delight. This production’s staging by Phelim McDermott adds to the comedy by relocating the action from Naples in the 1790s to Coney Island in the 1950s.
Top photo: Bigstock