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Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Metropolitan Opera Live in HD Preview

Part II of the Metropolitan Opera User's Guide
Ernani (Roberto de Biasio, l.) and Elvira (Angela Meade)
in Act IV of Verdi's Ernani at the Met.
Photo by Marty Sohl © 2012 The Metropolitan Opera.

Read Part I: Buying Tickets.

Although some of us old-fashioned types like seeing their operas in the big house at Lincoln Center, the Met has done very well with its Live in HD broadcasts. The schedule for the 2011-2012 season has been announced, and is presented below for your planning pleasure.

This year' offerings include the second half of Wagner's Ring, along with operatic appearances by Anna Netrebko, Natalie Dessay, and Mahatma Gandhi. (Well, sort of.) So getcha popcorn ready.

Oct. 15: Anna Bolena by Gaetano Donizetti
What's it about? Anna loses her head to King Henry VIII in the Italian version of The Tudors.
Why see it? Anna Netrebko sings the title role.

Oct. 29: Don Giovanni by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
What's it about? The greatest lover in history makes a fatal dinner invitation.
Why see it? To see if James Levine conducts after a five-month hiatus.

Nov. 5: Siegfried
by Richard Wagner
What's it about? The boisterous exploits of a sword-swinging doofus. Part III of The Ring.
Why see it? Fafner, (the dragon in Act II) is bound to be cooler than the dragon in Das Rheingold.

Nov. 19: Satyagraha
by Philip Glass
What's it about? Gandhi: The Early Years.
Why see it? To see if Mr. Glass finally allows subtitles for his opera. The libretto is in Sanskrit. And no, that wasn't a joke.

Dec. 3: Rodelinda by Georg Freidrich Handel
What's it about? Intrigue and jealousy in medieval Lombardy. With great singing.
Why see it? Because it stars the fabulous Renée Fleming.

Dec. 10: Faust by Charles Gounod
What's it about? Goethe's morality play reimagined as a 20th century parable of the atomic bomb.
Why see it? To determine if the bomb is more than just a metaphor.

Jan. 21, 2012:The Enchanted Island by Handel, Vivaldi, and some other people.
What's it about? The Met attempts a baroque pastiche. The plot? Episode I of Shakespeare's The Tempest.
Why see it? Because pairing David Daniels with Joyce DiDonato can save anything.

Feb. 11: Götterdämmerung by Richard Wagner
What's it about? Briefly: Boy loves girl. Boy forgets girl. Girl has boy killed. World ends. Part IV of the Ring.
Why see it? Because the Reverend Harold Camping has nothing on Richard Wagner's end-of-the-world scenario.

Feb. 25: Ernani by Giuseppe Verdi
What's it about? Verdi's well-traveled tale of a gentleman bandit with a weakness for horn calls.
Why see it? A star is born: Angela Meade comes into her own in the role of Elvira.

April 7: Manon by Jules Massenet
What's it about? A good girl goes very bad, goes to New Orleans, and dies.
Why see it? The same reason to see Anna Bolena: La Netrebko is singing the title role.

April 14: La Traviata by Giuseppe Verdi
What's it about? A good girl gone bad finds true love, moves back to Paris, and dies.
Why see it? Natalie Dessay takes her turn in the the Willy Decker "red dress" production.

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Critical Thinking in the Cheap Seats