How to enjoy a feast of great opera from New York for free

Thursday, 8th October 2020, 8:00 am
Updated Thursday, 8th October 2020, 8:01 am

Newcomers and aficionados alike will find much to enjoy as New York’s Met Opera continues to broadcast its classic productions online.

All nightly Met Opera Streams begin at 12.30am UK time and remain available via metopera.org for 23 hours. The performances are also accessible on all Met Opera on Demand apps.Here are ten of the best productions heading to screens in the coming days.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

1 WAGNER’S SIEGFRIED

October 9, starring Hildegard Behrens, Siegfried Jerusalem, and James Morris, conducted by James Levine, from April 26, 1990

In his cave in the forest, the dwarf Mime forges a sword for his foster son Siegfried. He hates Siegfried but hopes that the boy will kill the dragon Fafner, who guards the Nibelungs’ treasure, so that Mime can take the all-powerful ring from it. So begins the third of the four music dramas that constitute Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung). It premiered at the Bayreuth Festspielhaus on 16 August 1876, as part of the first complete performance of The Ring cycle.

Anna Netrebko in Lucia di Lammermoor (photo: Ken Howard/Met Opera)

2 WAGNER’S GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG

October 10, starring Hildegard Behrens, Christa Ludwig, Siegfried Jerusalem, and Matti Salminen, conducted by James Levine, from May 5, 1990

At night on the Valkyries’ rock, the three Norns, daughters of Erda, weave the rope of destiny. They tell how Wotan ordered the world ash tree, from which his spear was once cut, to be felled and its wood piled around Valhalla. The burning of the pyre will mark the end of the old order. Suddenly the rope breaks. Their wisdom ended, the Norns descend into the earth. Dawn breaks and Siegfried and Brünnhilde emerge. Having cast protective spells on him, she sends him into the world to do heroic deeds. As a pledge of his love, Siegfried gives her the ring he took from the dragon Fafner, and she offers her horse, Grane, in return. Siegfried sets off on his travels. Götterdämmerung is the last in Richard Wagner’s cycle .The title is a translation into German of the Old Norse phrase Ragnarök, which in Norse mythology refers to a prophesied war among various beings and gods that ultimately results in the burning, immersion in water, and renewal of the world.

3 WAGNER’S PARSIFAL

October 11, Starring Katarina Dalayman, Jonas Kaufmann, Peter Mattei, Evgeny Nikitin, and René Pape, conducted by Daniele Gatti, from March 2, 2013

Near the sanctuary of the Holy Grail, the old knight Gurnemanz and two sentries wake and perform their morning prayers, while other knights prepare a bath for their ailing ruler Amfortas, who suffers from an incurable wound. Suddenly, Kundry — a mysterious, ageless woman who serves as the Grail’s messenger — appears. The scene is set for a work Wagner conceived in April 1857, but did not finish it until 25 years later. It was his last completed opera.

4 DONIZETTI’S LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR

October 12, starring Anna Netrebko, Piotr Beczała, Mariusz Kwiecień, and Ildar Abdrazakov, conducted by Marco Armiliato, from February 7, 2009

The three-act tragic opera tragic opera has a libretto by Salvadore Cammarano, loosely based upon Sir Walter Scott’s 1819 historical novel The Bride of Lammermoor. The story concerns the emotionally fragile Lucy Ashton (Lucia) who is caught in a feud between her own family and that of the Ravenswoods. The setting is the Lammermuir Hills of Scotland (Lammermoor) in the 17th century.

5 DONIZETTI’S LA FILLE DU RÉGIMENT

October 13, starring Natalie Dessay, Felicity Palmer, Juan Diego Flórez, and Alessandro Corbelli, conducted by Marco Armiliato, from April 26, 2008

The comic opera in two acts was written by Donizetti while he was living in Paris between 1838 and 1840. La fille du régiment quickly became a popular success partly because of the famous aria Ah! mes amis, quel jour de fête!, which requires the tenor to sing no fewer than eight high Cs.

6 DONIZETTI’S L’ELISIR D’AMORE

October 14, starring Pretty Yende, Matthew Polenzani, Davide Luciano, and Ildebrando D’Arcangelo, conducted by Domingo Hindoyan, from February 10, 2018

Written in haste in a six-week period,L’elisir d’amore was the most often performed opera in Italy between 1838 and 1848[1] and has remained continually in the international opera repertory. Today it is one of the most frequently performed of all Donizetti’s operas: it appears as number 13 on the Operabase list of the most-performed operas worldwide in the five seasons between 2008 and 2013.[2] There are a large number of recordings. It contains the popular tenor aria “Una furtiva lagrima”, a romanza that has a considerable performance history in the concert hall.

7 DONIZETTI’S ANNA BOLENA

October 15, starring Anna Netrebko, Ekaterina Gubanova, Tamara Mumford, Stephen Costello, and Ildar Abdrazakov, conducted by Marco Armiliato, from October 15, 2011

The tragic opera recounts the life of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII. Anna Bolena premiered on December 26 1830 at the Teatro Carcano in Milan, to great success.

8 DONIZETTI’S MARIA STUARDA

October 16, starring Elza van den Heever, Joyce DiDonato, Matthew Polenzani, Joshua Hopkins, and Matthew Rose, conducted by Maurizio Benini, from January 19, 2013

The Tudor period is examined once again in Maria Stuarda, whose libretto is based on Andrea Maffei’s translation of Friedrich Schiller’s 1800 play Maria Stuart. After a series of problems surrounding its presentation in Naples after the final dress rehearsal – including having to be re-written for a totally different location, a different time period, and with Buondelmonte as its new title – Maria Stuarda as we know it today premiered on December 30 1835 at La Scala in Milan.

9 DONIZETTI’S ROBERTO DEVEREUX

October 17, starring Sondra Radvanovsky, Elīna Garanča, Matthew Polenzani, and Mariusz Kwiecień, conducted by Maurizio Benini, from April 16, 2016

The opera is loosely based on the life of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, an influential member of the court of Elizabeth I.

10 DONIZETTI’S DON PASQUALE

October 18, starring Anna Netrebko, Matthew Polenzani, Mariusz Kwiecień, and John Del Carlo, conducted by James Levine, from November 13, 2010

The comic opera s generally regarded as being the high point of the 19th century opera buffa tradition and, in fact, marking its ending.