Beginning Wednesday, June 18, the Met will present Summer Encores, featuring select performances from the groundbreaking Live in HD series,in more than 400 movie theaters across the United States. In the Berkshires of Massachusetts these transmissions are usually available at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington and the Clark Art Museum in Williamstown.
You would probably prefer to avoid the Beacon Cinemas in Pittsfield due to reports of overbearing tactics in which they search ticket buyers for contraband fruit or trail mix in backpacks and purses. Sadly the choices at their concession stand are attractive only to children and the unhealthy. It is a shame that such police state rules apply there, and while public manners may have declined, opera goers continue to be charged more for their tickets than movie-goers and are generally well mannered guests.
The 2014 Summer Encores series will offer screenings of four popular Live in HD transmissions: Verdi’s Rigoletto (June 18), Puccini’s La Rondine(June 25), Verdi’s Otello(July 9), and the Baroque pastiche The Enchanted Island(July 16). Two additional titles, Gounod’s Roméo and Juliette and Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West, will also be shown in select theaters on varying dates. A list of participating national and international theaters, as well as showtimes, can be found at metopera.org/hdlive. Detailed cast and opera information is included on the schedule below.
Tickets are on sale now for Summer Encores at participating theater box offices and online at metopera.org/hdlive.
The Met: Live in HD, the company’s award-winning series of opera transmissions into movie theaters around the world, has just concluded its eighth season, which was seen in 67 countries and in more than 2,000 theaters. Since launching the series in December 2006, the Metropolitan Opera has become the leading producer of alternative cinema content, recently hitting 15 million tickets sold with the live transmission of Puccini’s La Bohème in April. Fathom Entertainment is the Met’s U.S. distributor to commercial movie theaters of the Live in HD series; many independent theaters and arts centers also participate in the exhibitions. The Met: Live in HD is made possible by a generous grant from the Neubauer Family Foundation. Bloomberg L.P. is the series’ global corporate sponsor.
The Metropolitan Opera’s 2014 – Summer Encores Schedule
Wednesday, June 18, 7PM (originally transmitted live on February 16, 2013)
Tony Award-winning director Michael Mayer’s acclaimed production, the talk of the opera world when it premiered in 2013, sets the action of Verdi’s masterpiece in the neon-lit world of 1960s Las Vegas. In this bold new vision—featured on 60 Minutes—Piotr Beczala is the Duke, a popular entertainer and casino owner; Željko Lučić sings Rigoletto, a comedian and the Duke’s sidekick; and Diana Damrau is Rigoletto’s innocent daughter, Gilda. Štefan Kocán sings the assassin-for-hire Sparafucile and Oksana Volkova makes her Met debut as his seductive sister, Maddalena. Rising conductor Michele Mariotti leads the Verdi masterwork, which features one of the most famous arias in all of opera, “La donna è mobile.”
Wednesday, June 25, 7PM(originally transmitted live on January 10, 2009)
Puccini’s achingly beautiful score conveys the plight of Magda (the “swallow” of the title), who unexpectedly finds true love with the handsome young Ruggero. Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna, who portray Puccini’s star-crossed lovers, were praised by the Associated Press for “a vocal synchronicity and an emotional electricity that keeps an international audience riveted.” Nicolas Joël’s production of this rarely performed opera features elegant art-deco sets, and was described by The New York Times as “charming and poignant, with stylish and affecting performances.”
Wednesday, July 9,7PM (originally transmitted live on October 27, 2012)
In Verdi’s retelling of Shakespeare’s towering tragedy, Renée Fleming gives a captivating performance as the innocent Desdemona, a role long considered one of her calling cards. As the title hero, Johan Botha delivers an imposing portrayal of a proud warrior brought down by jealousy, and Falk Struckmann is thrilling as the villainous Iago.“Conductor Semyon Bychkov led a vibrant reading of the score, building tension expertly in the third-act ensemble and creating a mood of tremendous pathos in the final scene” (The New York Times).
THE ENCHANTED ISLAND
Wednesday, July 16, 7PM (originally transmitted live on January 21, 2012)
A contemporary take on the 18th-century genre of the pastiche, this delightful Baroque fantasy brings together more than 30 of the greatest arias and ensembles by Handel, Vivaldi, Rameau, Purcell, and other composers, with a new English libretto by Jeremy Sams, inspired by Shakespeare’s The Tempest and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The four young lovers from A Midsummer Night’s Dream find themselves shipwrecked on Prospero’s island from The Tempest, leading to a tortuous web of comic and dramatic romantic entanglements.The all-star cast is headed by David Daniels as Prospero, Joyce DiDonato as Sycorax, Danielle de Niese as Ariel, Luca Pisaroni as Caliban, and the legendary Plácido Domingo as Neptune. William Christie conducts this dazzling world-premiere production by director Phelim McDermott (Satyagraha).
Two additional operas are being offered, but as we go to press, we have no firm dates for them. Check with your preferred venue for more information.
ROMÉO ET JULIETTE
(originally transmitted live on December 15, 2007)
The world’s most famous love story comes to operatic life with Anna Netrebko and Roberto Alagna as the star-crossed young couple. Gounod’s ultra-sensual Shakespeare interpretation also features Nathan Gunn as Mercutio and Isabel Leonard, in her Met debut, asStéphano. Plácido Domingo ison the podium.
LA FANCIULLA DEL WEST
(originally transmitted live on March 24, 2007)
Puccini’s musical vision of the American West is vividly brought to life in the Met’s atmospheric production. Deborah Voigt is Minnie, the “girl of the golden west” and owner of a bar in a Californian mining camp. Marcello Giordani sings Dick Johnson, the bandit-turned-lover hunted by the cynical sheriff Jack Rance (Lucio Gallo), who wants Minnie for himself. Complete with whiskey-drinking cowboys, gunplay, a poker game, and a snowstorm, La Fanciulla del West is Puccini at his most colorful. Nicola Luisotti conducts the work, which the composer told The New York Times in 1910 he considered “the best of [his] operas.”