What to Expect from our 2021 Encore Series
Met Stars Live in Concert - Renee Fleming / Jonas Kaufmann
The best two for one musical deal!
Two of operas greatest artists star in back-to-back recitals from the Metropolitan Opera’s Met Stars Live in Concert series. Beloved American diva Renée Fleming performs an intimate concert from the historic Dumbarton Oaks estate in Washington, D.C., recorded live in August 2020 and superstar tenor Jonas Kaufmann gives a thrilling recital of popular arias from the Polling Abbey in Bavaria, recorded live in July 2020.
The programme will be two hours without intermission.
Lucia di Lammermoor
“Natalie Dessay was the production’s first Lucia when the production was new in 2007 and she returns to reclaim it.” – Classical Review. If you want to see superb acting and superb singing this is the definitive Lucia. Sadly now retired from the operatic stage, Natalie Dessay reminds us here of why she was a true star.
The Merry Widow
In an art nouveau setting, Lehar’s enchanting operetta brings colour, zest and the cancan to our screens. Renee Fleming stars as the beguiling femme fatale with a fortune. Broadway favourite Kelly O’Hara sparkles as Valencienne (remember her in Cosi?). The sets are a joy to behold, especially the amazing transition to the legendary Maxim’s where everything is on offer and nothing seems forbidden.
This is a triumph for Sondra Radvanosky, the last of the three Tudor Queens she played in one season. Queen Elizabeth is forced to sign the death warrant of the man she loves, Roberto Devereux, sung by Matthew Polenzani.The production is by the brilliant Sir David McVicar. “Searing, a triumph,” cry the critics. And so it is. “The applause and bravos for the soprano Sondra Radvanovsky were so frenzied at the end of Donizetti’s “Roberto Devereux” at the Metropolitan Opera on Thursday night that she looked overwhelmed, almost a little frightened. The audience members knew, it seemed, that they had just witnessed an emotionally vulnerable and vocally daring performance, a milestone in the career of an essential artist.” - NYTimes
The darling Joyce DiDonato and rock star handsome Juan Diego Florez are alone the reason to watch this fairytale but Rossini’s beautiful music will enchant you. The production is whimsical, the action physically comic and the performances truly stellar. No fairy Godmother but a philosophic godfather instead reminds us that this is not a traditional Cinderella.
Here’s the story of a poet whose death launched clusters of copycats in the 18th Century. Unrequited love and a longing for what can never be leads Jonas Kaufmann as Werther to his poignant end. Richard Eyre’s sets are wonderful and the final hovering claustrophobic study becomes the place for Werther’s surprisingly graphic suicide. Sophie Koch is a matchless Charlotte, the object of Werther’s obsession. One reviewer pointed out that in a more modern era this would be termed a stalker’s opera.
Would you sell your soul to the devil for an extra 24 years of life?Perhaps if the extra years could be spent listening to Jonas Kaufmann! Des McAnuff’s thrilling 2011 production places the mythical and timeless story in an early 20th-century setting. René Pape as Méphistophélès is menacing and elegant in equal measure, and Marina Poplavskaya delivers a searingly intense portrayal of the innocent Marguerite. Russell Braun as her brother, Valentin, shines in his Act II aria. On the podium, Yannick Nézet-Séguin brings out all the lyricism and drama of Gounod’s score.
A production of gilt and red damask, hauntingly beautiful music and a fitting farewell to Renee Fleming’s portrayal of this role. Renee Fleming is the Marschallin and Elina Garanca the young Octavian with whom she is having an affair. “Wearing a fur coat, her hair all golden locks, Ms. Fleming’s Marschallin looks glamorous, yet clearly wounded. She sings the arching melodic line that begins Strauss’s transcendent trio with seamless phrasing and ethereal sound, her more mature voice blending poignantly with the youthful colorings of Ms. Morley and Ms. Garanca.” - NYTimes
Here’s the story of a woman who simply wants everything, love and money - the original Material Girl, Manon has been sent away to join a convent, her family having seen the beginnings of her wayward nature. She escapes this fate and allows her sensual nature full rein, only to die impoverished and disgraced.
Here’s a masterpiece, hypnotic and ritualistic. It will be like nothing you have ever seen before. The star counter-tenor Anthony Roth Costanzo is the legendary Pharaoh who transformed Ancient Egypt. Phelim McDermott’s goal is to create a theatrical experience that is beyond words, plot and conventional storytelling. Operawire calls it: “The Best Met Production of the Year.”
The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess
Director James Robinson’s stylish production transports audiences to Catfish Row, a setting vibrant with the music, dancing, emotion, and heartbreak of its inhabitants. It’s a tapestry of sound and movement with George Gershwin’s lush score underpinning the lyrics of his brother, Ira Gershwin and the libretto of DuBose Heyward. The ensemble work has an energy rarely seen in the musical theatre. Quite amazing!
Handel’s tale of intrigue and impropriety in ancient Rome receives its first Met performances, with star mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato as the controlling, power-hungry Agrippina and Harry Bicket conducting. Sir David McVicar’s production ingeniously reframes the action of this black comedy about the abuse of power to “the present,” where it should loudly resonate. Prepared to be shocked! What a great family this is! Mum, married to her uncle (yes) whom she will eventually poison with mushrooms, working hard to promote her own crazy son to the throne after which he will have her clubbed to death. Fortunately Handel ends his opera at a point where the ascension is guaranteed.
The New York Times