OVERVIEW | Met Opera Live In HD Winter / Spring 2022 returns with delicious lineup
If I can borrow a line from Dickens, his famous “It was the worst of times…” is an apt description of 2021 when it comes to the performing arts. The continuing COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted or significantly reduced in-person live performance around the world. Here in Toronto, an in-person performance of the Canadian Opera Company last took place in February 2020, almost two full years ago. And, its resumption in February with Madame Papillon depends a lot on the Omicron situation.
For long-suffering opera fans, the Met live in HD Series offers some comfort. No, it’s not quite the same as attending in person, but those real-time live streams to theaters are as close as possible to being there. This season marks the 15th anniversary of the Series, which debuted in December 2006 with Julie Taymor’s now iconic production of the abridged English version The magic flute. The 2021-22 season featured previous Cineplex screenings of Boris Godunov, plus two contemporary operas, Fire shut up in my bones and Eurydice.
The winter / spring 2022 program is great. All performances start at 12:55 p.m. on Saturdays, with callbacks a little later. Details [HERE]
Due to the ever-changing situation with the ongoing pandemic, the public are advised to check with their local theater for restrictions, health and safety measures near the date of the screening.
- January 1st Cinderella An abridged 90-minute version of the magnificent production by Laurent Pelly de Massenet Cinderella, here sung in English. It stars American mezzo Isabel Leonard as the title role and Canadian mezzo Emily D’Angelo as Prince Charming. Emmanuel Villaume directs. I saw this wonderful production at the Santa Fe Opera a few years ago, don’t miss it. Again: February 5
- 29 january Rigoletto In this new production by Bartlett Sher, time / place moves the work to 1920s Europe, with magnificent Art Deco decorations by Michael Yeargan. Quinn Kelsey is Rigoletto, with soprano Rosa Feola as Gilda and tenor Piotr Beczała as Duke of Mantua. Daniele Rustioni conducts the Met Orchestra and Choir. Again: February 26
- 12th of March Ariane auf Naxos This production benefits from an excellent cast, led by Norwegian soprano Lise Davidsen, hailed as the “New Kirsten Flagstad”, in the role of Ariadne. By the way, Davidsen sang a wonderful Sieglinde with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in Act one few years ago. Isabel Leonard is the Komponist, and Brenda Rae sings Zerbinetta. Brandon Jovanovich is Bacchus. Marek Janowski conducts. Again: April 9
- March 26 Don Carlos This French version in 5 acts, lasting 4 hours 55 minutes including two intermissions, is a real marathon, but every minute is worth it. Three Canadians – conductor Yannick Nezet-Seguin, double bass John Relyea (Philip II) and baritone Etienne Dupuis (Rodrigo). The wonderful cast also includes Bulgarian soprano Sonya Yoncheva (Elisabetta) and American tenor Matthew Polenzani (Carlo). Again: April 23
- May 7 Turandot Given that there are fewer and fewer realistic productions these days – yes, even at the Met, that Zeffirelli extravaganza is worth living out before his inevitable retirement. Russian superstar Anna Netrebko is Turandot, Korean tenor Yonghoon Kim is Calaf and Albanian soprano Ermonela Jaho is Liu. Marco Armilato is at the helm. Again: June 18
- May 21 Lucia di Lammermoor This jewel of bel canto receives a new staging by Australian Simon Stone, under the direction of Riccardo Frizza. Soprano Nadine Sierra is Lucia, tenor Javier Camarena, with his spectacular upper register, is Edgardo and baritone Artur Rucinski is Enrico. Again: July 9
- June 4 Hamlet This contemporary Shakespeare-based play had a successful Glyndebourne premiere in 2017, and is now coming to the Met. Allan Clayton (Hamlet), Brenda Rae (Ophélie), Sarah Connolly (Gertrude) and Rodney Gilfry (Claudius). Venerable baritone John Tomlinson makes an appearance as the ghost of Hamlet’s father. Nicholas Carter made his debut as a conductor at the Met. Again: July 23
There you have it, a great range. As in previous years, it is featured in select Cineplex locations across Canada. Theaters have strict anti-COVID security guidelines, and attendees are required to show proof of vaccination and photo ID. For details on movie theater locations and ticket information, see [HERE].
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