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Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Met Al Fresco: Summer Live in HD Festival

A look ahead at next month's Peter Gelb film festival in Lincoln Center Plaza.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Eric Owens in L'Amour de Loin.
Photo by Ken Howard © 2016 the Metropolitan Opera.
The Metropolitan Opera returns to its tradition of showing reruns to an adoring public at Lincoln Center plaza in the late summer. This year the company offers screenings of eight operas plus filmmaker Ingmar Bergman's version of The Magic Flute. Why only eight operas, you ask? Because one of them, Wagner's four hour epic Tristan und Isolde is being split into two nights.

All the screenings will be held on Lincoln Center Plaza, with the 3,000 FREE seats filled on a first-come first-serve basis. Programs and playbills will be provided.

Here's the lineup:

The Magic Flute (Friday Aug. 25, 8pm)
Ingmar Bergman's celebrated 1975 version of the Mozart opera combines Masonry, mysticism and the Swedish director's own brand of screen sorcery.

The Magic Flute (Saturday Aug. 26, 8pm)
The Met's "Vegas, baby" production of Rigoletto returns in a filmed version from 2013. The superb cast features Željko Lučić as Rigoletto, Diana Damrau as Gilda, and Piotr Beczala as the Duke.

Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Sunday Aug. 27 7:45pm)
Swedish baritone Peter Mattei in his star-making turn as Figaro, the ebullient barber at the heart of Rossini's rollocking comedy. The crack 2007 cast features Joyce DiDonato (radiant) as Rosinia and Juan Diego Flórez as Count Almaviva. Smash those pumpkins!

L'amour de Loin (Monday Aug. 28 8pm)
The best opera from last season, in a stunning production by Robert Lepage. Kaija Saariaho tells the story of two medieval lovers (Susanna Phillips and Eric Owens) separated by time, distance and the Mediterranean in an unforgettable operatic experience.

Manon Lescaut (Tuesday Aug. 29 8pm)
Two years ago, Jonas Kaufmann stirred the pot when he cancelled appearing as Des Grieux in the Met's new production of Puccini's Manon Lescaut/ Roberto Alagna proved an able replacement opposite Kristine Opalais in the title role.

Roberto Devereux (Wednesday Aug. 30 8pm)
Sondra Radvanovsky puts on the full Queen Bess outfit for the last and greatest of the loose "Three Queens" trilogy: three Donizetti operas about the lives of the Tudors that depict English history through the filter of Italian theatrical sensibility. Filmed in 2016, Sir David McVicar's staging features Elīna Garanča, Matthew Polenzani and Mariusz Kwiecien in key roles.

Tristan und Isolde Act I (Thursday, Aug. 31 8pm)
Tristan und Isolde Act II, III (Friday, Sept. 1 8pm)
The mother of all epic love stories. This modern production opened the 2016 Met season. Set on a doomed ship and starring Stuart Skelton and Nina Stemme as the ill-fated lovers, it also features the superb Met orchestra under the baton of the acclaimed Sir Simon Rattle. The opera's so long that they're stretching it out over two nights.

Eugene Onegin (Saturday Sept. 2 8pm)
Filmed this April, Tchaikovsky's opera deals with doomed love but without all the Wagnerian bloodshed of Tristan. Expect the plaza to fill with Anna Netrebko fans: the fiery Russian diva is singing Tatiana.

Nabucco (Sunday, Sept. 3 8pm)
Plácido Domingo on his quest to subjugate Babylon and knock off another challenging role that Verdi wrote for baritone voice. The Met's sword-and-sandals production features Liudmyla Monastyrska, Jamie Barton and Dmitry Belosselskiy but the real star is the Met chorus singing "Va, pensiero."

La Traviata (Monday Sept. 4 8pm)
Sonya Yoncheva goes back on the clock as Violetta, the doomed prostitute whose race for self-respect will be outrun by her rapidly advancing case of tuberculosis. This Willy Decker staging is not long for this world, so here's another chance to see it.

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Since 2007, Superconductor has grown from an occasional concert or CD review to a near-daily publication covering classical music, opera and the arts in and around NYC, with excursions to Boston, Philadelphia, and upstate NY. I am a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn NY. And no, I'm not a conductor.