Verdi’s Aida lifts the curtain on a new series of ten live relays in high definition of Saturday afternoon matinee performances from the New York Metropolitan Opera.
However, do not mark any of the following performance dates in diaries as being at Cineworld Sheffield as usual. The cinema chain, nationally, has pulled out of transmitting MET Opera screenings!
It leaves the one, ‘newish’ Sheffield venue where they can seen, the far less vast spaces of the Curzon on George Street, formally a bank, in the city centre.
The MET’s 2018-19 season in New York opens (24/9) with Saint-Saëns’ not overly exposed masterpiece Samson et Dalila from a ‘dream team’ of Elīna Garanča and Roberto Alagna, Sir Mark Elder conducting, which is the second of the live relays on the 20th of October.
Aida, a fortnight earlier on the 6th of October, finds she-who-can-do-no-wrong, Anna Netrebko in the title role of an opera that has been performed nearly 1,200 times at the New York Met since 1886, six years after the opera house was founded.
Amneris is sung by the highly rated young Georgian mezzo-soprano Anita Rachvelishvili and Aleksandrs Antonenko, a much travelled Latvian tenor who gets round the world’s major opera stages, is Radamès.
Much more of a household name among present-day tenors, Jonas Kaufmann, straps on six-shooters as Dick Johnson on the 27th of October for Puccini’s ‘wild west’ opera La Fanciulla del West, commissioned and premiered by the MET in 1910.
Highly regarded Dutch soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek is the ‘fanciulla‘ (girl) – a saloon keeper! – and the production, a revival, is by Giancarlo del Monaco, son of the famous tenor Mario and a celebrated Dick Johnson in the 1950s.
After a fairly spectacular and busy October the next offering on the 10th of November is much more recent MET commission, American composer Nico Muhly’s realisation of Winston Graham’s novel Marnie which Alfred Hitchcock turned into a film classic.
It premiered at English National Opera last autumn, no doubt accounting for quite a few Brits supporting American mezzo-soprano Isobel Leonard in the eponymous title role, including baritone Christopher Maltman, countertenor Iestyn Davies and soprano Janis Kelly.
Substantially more familiar before the end of the year, musically at least, is Verdi’s La Traviata on the 15th of December with another ‘dream team’ of Diana Damrau and Juan Diego Flórez.
Early 2019, the 12th of January, sees Anna Netrebko back singing the title role in Cilea’s fabulous Adriana Lecouvreur – if you like Puccini, you will love it! – and she is again at loggerheads with Anita Rachvelishvili as a rival in love, this time playing a French princess.
After wowing audiences in her debut performances of Bizet’s Carmen last season, Clémentine Margaine is back with an encore performance of the 2nd of February.
The Don José for the live relay remains to confirmed as do singers for Donizetti’s La Fille du Régiment (2nd of March); Wagner’s Die Walküre (30th of March); and Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites (11th of May).
All performances begin at 5.55pm, except the Wagner: 4pm; and the Poulenc: 5pm, and all carry English subtitles.
*It may be worth having a look at the Curzon’s website as a fair sprinkling of Royal Opera House relays are also on offer: http://www.curzoncinemas.com/sheffield