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PREVIEW | Met Opera Live In HD Winter/Spring 2022 Returns With Delectable Lineup

By Joseph So on January 4, 2022

Isabel Leonard in the title role and Emily D’Angelo as Prince Charming in Massenet’s Cinderella at the Metropolitan Opera. (Photo: Karen Almond Met Opera)
Isabel Leonard in the title role and Emily D’Angelo as Prince Charming in Massenet’s Cinderella at the Metropolitan Opera. (Photo: Karen Almond Met Opera)

If I may borrow a line from Dickens, his famous “It was the worst of times…” is a fitting description of 2021 when it comes to the performing arts. The continuing COVID-19 pandemic has shut down or severely curtailed in-person live performances worldwide. Here in Toronto, a Canadian Opera Company in-person performance last took place in February 2020, nearly two full years ago. And, its resumption in February with Madama Butterfly is very much dependent on the Omicron situation.

For long-suffering opera fans, the Met Live in HD Series offers some solace. No, it’s not quite the same as attending in person, but these real-time live transmissions to cinemas come as close to being there as possible. This season marks the 15th anniversary of the Series, which began in December 2006 with the now iconic Julie Taymor production of the abridged, English language The Magic Flute. The 2021-22 season included earlier Cineplex showings of Boris Godunov, plus two contemporary operas, Fire Shut Up in My Bones and Eurydice.

The 2022 Winter/Spring lineup is terrific. All performances begin at 12:55 p.m. on Saturdays, with encores sometime later. Details [HERE]

Due to the ever-changing situation with the ongoing pandemic, audiences are advised to check with their local theatre for restrictions, health and safety measures near the date of the screening.

  • Jan. 1 Cinderella An abridged, 90-minute version of Laurent Pelly’s gorgeous production of Massenet’s Cendrillon, here sung in English. It stars American mezzo Isabel Leonard in the title role and Canadian mezzo Emily D’Angelo as Prince Charming. Emmanuel Villaume conducts. I saw this wonderful production at the Santa Fe Opera some years ago — not to be missed. Encore: Feb. 5
  • Jan. 29 Rigoletto In this new production by Bartlett Sher, the time/place shifts the work to 1920s Europe, with gorgeous Art Deco sets by Michael Yeargan. Quinn Kelsey is Rigoletto, with soprano Rosa Feola as Gilda and tenor Piotr Beczała as the Duke of Mantua. Daniele Rustioni leads the Met Orchestra and Chorus. Encore: Feb. 26
  • March 12 Ariadne auf Naxos This production boasts a great cast, led by Norwegian soprano Lise Davidsen, hailed as the “New Kirsten Flagstad,” as Ariadne. Incidentally, Davidsen sang a wonderful Sieglinde with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in Act One Walkure a few years ago. Isabel Leonard is the Komponist, and Brenda Rae sings Zerbinetta. Brandon Jovanovich is Bacchus. Marek Janowski conducts. Encore: April 9
  • March 26 Don Carlos This 5-Act French version, at 4 hours 55 minutes including two intermissions, is a true marathon, but it’s worth every minute. Three Canadians — conductor Yannick Nezet-Seguin, 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). Encore: April 23
  • May 7 Turandot Given that there are fewer and fewer realistic productions these days — yes, even at the Met, this Zeffirelli extravaganza is worth experiencing before its inevitable retirement. Russian superstar Anna Netrebko is Turandot, Korean tenor Yonghoon Kim is Calaf, and Albanian soprano Ermonela Jaho is Liu. Marco Armiliato is at the helm. Encore: June 18
  • May 21 Lucia di Lammermoor This bel canto gem receives a new staging by Australian Simon Stone, conducted by Riccardo Frizza. Soprano Nadine Sierra is Lucia, tenor Javier Camarena, with his spectacular top register, is Edgardo, and baritone Artur Rucinski is Enrico. Encore: July 9
  • June 4 Hamlet This contemporary piece based on Shakespeare had a successful Glyndebourne premiere in 2017, and now comes to the Met. Allan Clayton (Hamlet), Brenda Rae (Ophelia), Sarah Connolly (Gertrude), and Rodney Gilfry (Claudius). The venerable baritone John Tomlinson makes a cameo appearance as the ghost of Hamlet’s father. Nicholas Carter makes his Met conducting debut. Encore: July 23

There you have it, a great lineup. As in previous years, it’s being shown at selected Cineplex locations in Canada. The theatres have strict anti-COVID safety guidelines, and attendees are required to show vaccination proof and photo ID. For details of cinema locations and ticket information, see [HERE].


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Joseph So
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