The Metropolitan Opera announced plans for its free outdoor events this summer, which will take place in the Lincoln Center Plaza and in parks throughout New York City. In a brand new initiative, the Met's Summer HD Festival will feature screenings of ten productions from the Met's Peabody and Emmy Award-winning Live in HD series in Lincoln Center Plaza on consecutive nights, beginning Saturday, August 29. The series opens with Laurent Pelly's acclaimed production of La Fille du Régiment, starring Natalie Dessay and Juan Diego Flórez, and closes with Anthony Minghella's staging of Puccini's Madama Butterfly, featuring Patricia Racette and Marcello Giordani, on Labor Day. Three of the HD productions to be shown are conducted by Met Music Director James Levine. The Met's Summer HD Festival is sponsored by Bank of America with additional support from the Metropolitan Opera Guild.
The Met's Summer Recital Series, presented in collaboration with City Parks Foundation, includes six concerts in all five boroughs from July 13 through August 14. The opening recital kicks off at Central Park SummerStage at 8:00 pm with baritone Paulo Szot, joined by rising opera stars Lisette Oropesa, soprano, and Alek Shrader, tenor, and pianist Vlad Iftinca. Szot, currently starring in South Pacific at Lincoln Center Theater, will make his Metropolitan Opera debut next season in William Kentridge's new production of Shostakovich's The Nose.
"For more than 40 years, the Met has presented free summer events in the city, a record that makes us proud," said Met General Manager Peter Gelb. "We thank Bank of America and the Guild for helping to increase the public's access to the Met with our new Summer HD Festival."
In addition to Fille (August 29) and Butterfly (September 7), the Met's Summer HD Festival will include HD presentations of Gounod's Roméo et Juliette with Anna Netrebko and Roberto Alagna (August 30); Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin starring Renée Fleming and Dmitri Hvorostovsky (August 31); Verdi's Macbeth with Maria Guleghina and ?eljko Lu?i?, conducted by Levine (September 1); Rossini's IL Barbiere di Siviglia with Joyce DiDonato and Flórez (September 2); Britten's Peter Grimes starring Anthony Dean Griffey and Racette (September 3); La Bohème featuring Angela Gheorghiu and Ramón Vargas (September 4); Orfeo ed Euridice featuring Stephanie Blythe and Danielle De Niese, with Levine conducting (September 5); and Puccini's Il Trittico, which consists of three one-act operas, also conducted by Levine (September 6).
All screenings are free with no tickets required; 2800 seats will be available each night on a first-come, first served basis. There are no rain dates. Screening start times range from 7:30pm to 8:00pm.
The Met's Summer Recital Series
Following the SummerStage program on July 13, subsequent performances of the Met's Summer Recital Series will take place on Friday evenings from July 17 to August 14 at 7:00 pm. Performers will include sopranos Joyce El-Khoury and Ashley Emerson, baritone John Moore, and bass Keith Miller, accompanied by Iftinca. The city park venues are Crotona Park (Bronx), Queensbridge Park (Queens), East River Park (Manhattan), Coffey Park (Brooklyn), and Tappen Park (Staten Island). Actor/conductor Damon Gupton, a Juilliard graduate, will host several of the parks concerts.
"City Parks Foundation is thrilled to help bring the Met's Summer Recital Series to new audiences throughout New York City," says David Rivel, Executive Director of City Parks Foundation. "City Parks Foundation has a long history of bringing free performances right into neighborhood parks, and this series will only further connect people with their park through the arts."
The Met's Summer Recital Series is presented in partnership with the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Commissioner Kate D. Levin, and the Department of Parks & Recreation, Commissioner Adrian Benepe.
"The Met's Summer Recital Series and the Summer HD Festival are two more examples of the Metropolitan Opera's commitment to broadening access and building audiences," said Commissioner Levin. "This summer's program of concerts in all five boroughs, and screenings at Lincoln Center, will offer all New Yorkers a unique chance to hear some of the most dynamic performers working in opera today."
"The Metropolitan Opera in New York City's parks is a summertime tradition stretching over 40 years," said Commissioner Benepe. "I would like to thank the Met and City Parks Foundation for bringing world-class performances to free and unique outdoor settings in neighborhood parks across the city. This year's program is sure to be music to the ears of a whole new generation of opera lovers."
Monday, July 13, 2009 at 8:00 pm: Central Park SummerStage
Paulo Szot, baritone
Lisette Oropesa, soprano
Alek Shrader, tenor
Vlad Iftinca, pianist
Friday, July 17, 2009 at 7:00 pm: Crotona Park (Bronx)
John Moore, baritone
Ashley Emerson, soprano
Vlad Iftinca, pianist
Damon Gupton, host
Friday, July 24, 2009 at 7:00 pm: Queensbridge Park (Queens)