For many of us, every Saturday morning offers the same ol’ same ol’. The Metropolitan Opera wants to change all that with a few femmes fatales, treacherous rulers, jealous lovers, and murderous madmen.
In other words, it’s time for the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD broadcasts. This year’s series, sponsored locally by the Lensic Performing Arts Center and the Santa Fe Opera, consists of 10 live broadcasts that begin at 11 a.m. Each opera also gets an evening encore screening, which is not always on the same day as the live broadcast.
The five new-to-the-Met productions on the lineup comprise an adventurous cross-section of the repertory, with only one, Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman (Der Fliegende Holländer), from the mainstream Romantic era. The others range from the Baroque, in Handel’s Agrippina, to the contemporary, in Philip Glass’ Akhnaten, plus two more 20th-century masterpieces, Alban Berg’s Wozzeck and George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess.
Traditionalists will be reassured by the five remaining broadcasts, with three Puccini operas, Turandot, Tosca, and Madama Butterfly, along with Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda and Massenet’s Manon.
All screenings are at the Lensic Performing Arts Center, 211 W. San Francisco St. Tickets are $15-$28, with discounts available for students, from 505-988-1234 or lensic.org. Collected Works Bookstore, 202 Galisteo St., hosts a lecture before each broadcast at 9:30 a.m., with a $5 suggested donation.
11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17
Christine Goerke is the malevolent Princess Turandot, with Eleonora Buratto as the doomed servant girl Liù and Yusif Eyvazov as Calàf, the object of both women’s affections. It all takes place in the tawdry opulence of Franco Zeffirelli’s everything-plus-the-kitchen sink production. Sunglasses are advised.
11 a.m. Oct. 26, 6 p.m. Nov. 4
This may be the sleeper hit of the broadcast season, thanks to Lisette Oropesa’s performance in the title role, which alone is “worth the price of admission,” wrote The New York Times. Massenet’s sensual score traces the story of a young woman who undergoes an Eliza Doolittle-like transformation, only to meet a tragic end through her relentless pursuit of love and luxury.
11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Nov. 9
Anthony Minghella’s 2006 production is one of the best new offerings from the Met in the last 15 years, “a sleekly stylish, often elegant and moving show,” according to The New York Times. It simultaneously manages to be innovative, thoughtful, and respectful, which is a rare feat these days.
11 a.m. Nov. 23, 6 p.m. Dec. 7
This is the most accessible and plot-centric of Philip Glass’ operas, a saga of a seemingly advanced society intent on destroying itself that should prove unusually timely today. Phelim McDermott’s production was widely acclaimed when it premiered at the English National Opera, as was countertenor Anthony Roth Constanzo’s performance in the title role.
11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Jan. 11
Visual artist/stage director William Kentridge had a smash hit at the Met in 2015 with Berg’s Lulu. He returns for the work often considered the 20th-century’s greatest opera, a profound and emotionally devastating criticism of a system that ensures the poor remain downtrodden. Elza van den Heever as Marie and Peter Mattei as Wozzeck head a stellar cast.
Porgy and Bess
11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Feb. 1
The Gershwins’ Catfish Row classic returns to the Met for the first time since 1990, in a well-received production that opened the Met’s current season. Fast-rising soprano Angel Blue sings Bess, with Porgy taken by veteran bass-baritone Eric Owens, who comes to Santa Fe next summer for the King Marke role in Tristan und Isolde.
11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Feb. 29
Handel’s first big triumph doubles as a Santa Fe Opera alumni reunion: SFO music director Harry Bicket leads a cast that includes Joyce DiDonato as Agrippina, the dishonest, power-mad wife of Emperor Claudius; Kate Lindsey as Nero, the son she wants to install on the throne; and Brenda Rae as Poppea, the woman with whom almost all the male characters are in love.
The Flying Dutchman (Der Fliegende Holländer)
11 a.m. March 14, 6 p.m. March 21
Conductor Valery Gergiev steers the orchestral crew and a cast that includes Sir Bryn Terfel as the Dutchman through Wagner’s breakthrough music-drama. In true 19th-century tradition, it takes a loving woman’s self-sacrifice to save the ill-fated Dutchman from eternally sailing the seas.
11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Apr. 11
Star soprano Anna Netrebko takes the title character’s fatal plunge from the top of Rome’s Castel Sant’Angelo once she realizes she’s been double-crossed by the sexual predator Scarpia, Rome’s slimy chief of police.
11 a.m. and 6 p.m. May 9
Diana Damrau and Jamie Barton square off as Mary, Queen of Scots and Queen Elizabeth I. This bel canto masterpiece boasts one of opera’s most intense confrontation scenes, a breathtakingly vituperative duet between the rival royals that leads to Mary’s execution. ◀