By Gianmarco Segato, Adult Programs Manager
As opera lovers the world over eagerly anticipate the return of live opera with the start of the fall season, increasingly, fans are also learning to anticipate a specific date each August: the day tickets go on sale for the Metropolitan Opera’s series of live HD transmissions.
This year those dates are Wednesday, August 14 (for Met Members, and for Cineplex Odeon SCENE cardholders) and Wednesday, August 21 for the general public. Many local HD enthusiasts still do things “old school”, lining up very early in the morning for tickets at venues across the Greater Toronto Area. You can also buy your tickets online, choosing the specific seat you want to sit in – but don’t dawdle as theatres sell out quickly.
The upcoming Met Live in HD season features a large number of artists and productions which have specific COC connections – here are some of the highlights:
Saturday, November 9, 2013: Tosca
When this Luc Bondy production premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in September 2009, it was greeted by boos. By the time it was revived in April of that season with a different cast, it was pronounced a triumph! This was in large part due to American soprano Patricia Racette who "brought a richly expressive voice and raw emotion to her wrenching portrayal of Tosca" (The New York Times). Racette is one of the world’s most riveting singing actresses whose artistry Toronto audiences will soon get to experience first-hand!
Saturday, December 14, 2013: Falstaff
Canadian director Robert Carsen’s new production has already appeared at Teatro alla Scala, Milan and Royal Opera House, Covent Garden where it was praised as “an intricate, closely observed Falstaff — witty, charming and human from start to finish.” (Opera News) This transmission provides hometown audiences with the rare opportunity to preview a future COC production which will arrive in Toronto with a spectacular all-star Canadian cast.
Saturday, February 8, 2014: Rusalka
This revival of the beloved Otto Schenk production features superstar soprano Renée Fleming in the title role. Appearing alongside her as the Water Gnome is the great Canadian bass-baritone John Relyea, one of the opera world’s most in-demand singers. He thrilled our audiences as the four villains in The Tales of Hoffmann in his 2012 COC debut and he will make a welcome return to the COC in a high-profile role in a future season.
Saturday, March 1, 2014: Prince Igor
This highly-anticipated new production of a Russian rarity features the spectacular Georgian mezzo-soprano Anita Rachvelishvili as Konchakovna. Ms Rachvelishvili was a thrilling Carmen for the COC in 2010.
April 26, 2014: Così fan tutte
Opera fans are excited about this revival since it marks the return to the podium of MET Music Director James Levine after a lengthy absence due to illness. The fresh, young cast features two recent COC stars: Isabel Leonard (Dorabella) received rave reviews as Sesto in our 2013 La clemenza di Tito (see above, in blue) and Rodion Pogossov (Guglielmo) has entertained Toronto audiences as Papageno in 2011’s The Magic Flute and as Figaro in 2008’s The Barber of Seville (see the top photo in this post).
As regular HD attendees will know, at each transmission the host reminds movie theatre audiences that no matter how spectacular these MET performances might be on the big screen, nothing can compare to experiencing opera live, in the opera house. We’re thrilled that so many of the artists and productions featured in this season’s MET HD transmissions will soon be coming to you live on our stage here in Toronto.
Photos: (top) Rodion Pogossov as Figaro in the COC’s production of The Barber of Seville, 2008; (middle) Patricia Racette as Tosca in the Metropolitan Opera's 2010 production of Tosca; (middle) Bryn Terfel as Falstaff in the Teatro alla Scala's 2013 production of Falstaff; (middle) John Relyea as Dr. Miracle in the Canadian Opera Company production of The Tales of Hoffmann, 2012; (middle) Anita Rachvelishvili as Carmen, and Jonas Kaufmann as Don José in the Teatro alla Scala's 2009 production of Carmen; (bottom) Keri Alkema as Vitellia and Isabel Leonard as Sesto in the Canadian Opera Company’s production of La clemenza di Tito, 2013. Photo Credits: (top) Michael Cooper; (middle) Ken Howard; (middle) Rudy Amisano; (middle) Michael Cooper; (middle) Marco Brescia; (bottom) Michael Cooper.
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Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001