The Met: Live in HD season returns to international screens this October with three productions.
First up, on Saturday 6 October, is Verdi’s Aida with soprano Anna Netrebko making her Met role debut as the eponymous Ethiopian princess. Set in ancient Egypt, this is a classic story of love and betrayal against the backdrop of war: Aida is held captive in Egypt and in love with the Egyptian general Radamès, tenor Aleksandrs Antonenko, who reciprocates her love. But he is also loved by Egyptian princess Amneris, sung by mezzo soprano Anita Rachvelishvili, who Aida serves. The plot thickens when Radamès is chosen to lead the war against Ethiopia, and his relationship with Aida takes a downward turn as she is torn between loyalty to her country and to the man she loves. Sonya Frisell‘s monumental production with sets by Gianni Quaranta returns to the Met stage with Nicola Luisotti conducting.
Continuing the season on 20 October is Saint-Saëns’ Samson et Dalila with Elīna Garanča and Roberto Alagnain the starring roles. British conductor Sir Mark Elder will be on the podium for Darko Tresnjak‘s production, the first new production at the Met for 20 years. The director won a 2014 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical and has chosen a vivid and seductive staging for this biblical epic featuring Samson crushing his philistine enemies in a monumental Temple of Dagon.
On Saturday 27 October Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West brings Eva-Maria Westbroek in the role of saloon-owner Minnie together with Jonas Kaufmann as the outlaw Dick Johnson. La Fanciulla del West was commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera at the beginning of the 20th-century and received its première under Toscanini’s baton in 1910 with Puccini in the audience. Set during the Gold-Rush of 1849, this gun-powder Western centres around Minnie – the only woman in the opera – who looks after a posse of rough miners while fending off the unwanted attentions of the local sheriff. When a tall, mysterious stranger comes into her life, it looks like things might change. A tale of true love and second chances with gun fights, poker games and stagecoach robberies, La Fanciulla del West combines the action of a great Western with the emotional punch of Italian opera. Marco Armiliato conducts.
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The Met: Live in HD is the world’s leading provider of alternative cinema content and seen by nearly three million opera lovers worldwide each season. The programme has grown every season, and now shows in more than 2,200 theatres in over 70 countries, including 203 cinemas in the UK. More than 25 million tickets have been sold since the series’ inception in 2006. As well as transmitting across the world, the Met has brought opera to school-children through its HD Live in Schools education programme, working with 48 school districts across the US to provide curriculums around selected operas, and to date has given nearly 130,000 children the chance to see a live broadcast. The Met: Live in HD series is made possible by a generous grant from its founding sponsor The Neubauer Family Foundation. Digital support of The Met: Live in HD is provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies. The Met: Live in HD series is supported by Rolex. The HD broadcasts are supported by Toll Brothers, America’s luxury home builder.