September 22, 2008 at 8 pm, the METROPOLITAN OPERA kicks off its 125th
Anniversary Season with a Gala Celebration starring the Met's reigning
diva. Soprano RENÉE FLEMING performs three fully staged scenes
from her most acclaimed performances; and whether you're a long-standing
opera addict or a newbie, you'll have every chance in the world to
catch a glimpse of the show, if not enjoy the festivities in their
entirety. And... thanks to 21st century technology, you won't
have to be physically present at the venerable opera house to be able
to do so, which means you have to have a really good excuse to miss
what promises to be a spectacular Gala. Take your pick from the following
1. Watch the show at any of 600 theaters in North and South America
and some countries in Europe and Asia to which the Opening Nigth performance
will be transmitted live in High Definition (HD) - a FIRST
EVER for a Met OPENING NIGHT performance!
CLICK HERE for US tickets and HERE
for other countries.
2. If you're in New York City, you can hang around any of two places:
TIMES SQUARE and FORDHAM UNIVERSITY's LINCOLN CENTER PLAZA where the
broadcast will be beamed on giant screens as well. Both are FREE but
tickets are required for the LINCOLN CENTER PLAZA screening.
3. Tune in to the web where the performance
will be streamed live on the Met's
4. If you don't care much for the visuals and just want to kick off
your shoes, close your eyes and enjoy the music, you can do so as
well by tuning in to the live broadcast on Metropolitan Opera Radio
SIRIUS channel 78, i.e., provided of course that you have a subscription
to SIRIUS satellite radio.
What to expect?
The Gala celebration opens with Act II of GIUSEPPE VERDI’s La
Traviata, which has two scenes: the first at Violetta’s
country house and the second at a grand Parisian mansion in the elaborate
staging by FRANCO ZEFIRELLI.
Met Music Director JAMES LEVINE conducts, tenor RAMÓN VARGAS
sings the role of Alfredo Germont, and baritone THOMAS HAMPSON that
of his father, Giorgio.
CHRISTIAN LACROIX has designed two costumes for FLEMING, one for each
The program continues with Act III of JULES MASSENET’s Manon,
also in two parts: first, the spectacular “Cours-la-Reine”
scene featuring the heroine’s famous “Gavotte,”
followed by the searingly dramatic scene in the church of St. Sulpice.
RAMÓN VARGAS is Manon’s lover, the Chevalier des Grieux,
DWAYNE CROFT her cousin, Lescaut, and ROBERT LLOYD the Chevalier’s
father, the Comte des Grieux. MARCO ARMILIATO conducts. Fleming’s
costume for scene one and an additional cloak for the second scene
are by KARL LAGERFELD for Chanel.
The evening concludes with the musically transcendent finale of RICHARD
STRAUSS' Capriccio, conducted by PATRICK
SUMMERS, music director of Houston Grand Opera. FLEMING's costume
is by JOHN GALLIANO.
In addition to the Opening Night Gala, RENÉE FLEMING will star
in two other operas in the Met's anniversary season: in the title
role of a new production of MASSENET’s Thaïs
and as DVORÁK’s Rusalka.
Thaïs will be shown live in high-definition in movie theaters
worldwide on December 20. A frequent host of The Met:
Live in HD series, Fleming will introduce and host the transmissions
of PUCCINI's La Rondine on January 10, 2009
and Madama Butterfly on March 7, 2009.
RENÉE FLEMING has sung more than 150 performances on the Met
stage as well as numerous concerts with the Met Orchestra.
Coty Inc. has created a new fragrance, La Voce Renée
Fleming, in honor of the singer. The fragrance’s
launch coincides with the opening night gala, and a portion of the
sales proceeds will be donated to the Met.
courtesy Metropolitan Opera - © Ken Howard, © Brigitte Lacombe
Music clip is from Act III of Massenet's
Manon: 'Obéissons quand
leur voix appelle' (Gavotte) sung by Renée Fleming / ©
BMG Music Entertainment