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CELEBRATING the MET's
125 YEARS

ABOUT THE MET GALA CD
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THE MET-THEN and NOW

125th OPENING NIGHT
GALA


SEASON HIGHLIGHTS



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On 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 options:

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 website.


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 scene.




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.

Photo credits: 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 /
© 2003 SONY BMG Music Entertainment


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