Sneak Preview: January MET Operas Live in HD

By Carole Reedy

The 2012-13 season of high-definition (HD) transmissions from the Metropolitan Opera in New York marks the new year with six more productions from the Met to brighten your winter doldrums, from January 5 until April 27. See the two delights for January in Teatro Macedonia Alcala in Oaxaca City and at the Auditorio Nacional in Mexico City as well as several other locations in Mexico.

Lectures to enhance your listening pleasure, given by expert Sergio Vela, are scheduled for 9:30 a.m. for Les Troyens and 10:30 a.m. for Maria Estuardo in the Lunario behind the Auditorio in Mexico City and broadcast live to the other locations.

Les Troyens by Hector Berlioz
January 5, 2013
11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (yes, 5 1/2 hours, and note the early start)

Ring in the New Year with an afternoon of grand opera.  Les Troyens, by Hector Berlioz, is epic opera at its finest: a story about war and empire-building, with two highly political women at the helm, driven by duty versus desire.  Les Troyens has been hailed as one of the greatest operas of the 19th century. Berlioz was a French romantic composer who had tremendous influence on future composers, including Wagner, Liszt, and Mahler. A lover of literature from an early age, he based this grand opera, the sum of his artistic work, on the epic poem The Aeneid, by Virgil.  Sadly he didn’t live to see the entire opera performed. Actually, the opera wasn’t performed in its entirety until 1921.  From 1899 to 1919, the Grand Opera of Paris performed each half separately.

The most brilliant opera stars will shine–Deborah Voigt as Cassandra, Susan Graham as Dido, and Marcello Giodani and Dwayne Croft rounding off this marvelous cast. Susan Graham praises the opera and her role by saying that Les Troyens is her Mount Everest. “There is nothing bigger. The storytelling arc, the vocal arc–it’s enormous.” Need we say more?

Maria Estuardo by Gaetano Donizetti
January 19, 2013
12 noon to 3:15 p.m.

Maria Estuardo, a tragic opera, is part of Gaetano Donizetti’s Tudor Trilogy.  Last season we were entertained with Ana Netrebko’s stirring interpretation of Henry the VIII’s second wife in Ana Bolena.  This season, virtuosic mezzo soprano Joyce DiDonato sings the role of the Scottish Queen, Mary. (The third opera in the trilogy is Roberto Devereux, the putative lover of Queen Elizabeth.)

After a successful dress rehearsal, the King of Naples banned performances of the opera “perhaps because his Queen, Maria Christina, was a direct descendant of Mary Stuart.” Donizetti revised the opera with a different librettist and name, but the opera never achieved success.  It opened as Maria Estuarda in 1835 at La Scala Opera House in Milan, but for various reasons was rarely performed again, essentially being ignored until 1958, when it reappeared in Bergamo, Donizetti’s home town. Ever since, it has proven popular. Since January 2009, 92 performances of 19 productions of Maria Estuardo have been presented, attesting to the opera’s continued popularity. Of course it is filled with Donizetti’s coloratura bel canto singing.

Next month:   Verdi’s Rigoletto

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