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National Theatre from England

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2017-18 season 

Tickets: $20 adult, $12 student

 

 

Hansel and Gretel (Humperdinck)
Dec. 31 – 2 p.m.

Originally conceived as a small-scale vocal entertainment for children, Hansel and Gretel resonates with both adults and children, and has become one of the most successful fairy-tale operas ever created. The composer, Engelbert Humperdinck, was a protégé of Richard Wagner, and the opera’s score is flavored with the sophisticated musical lessons he learned from his idol while maintaining a charm and a light touch that were entirely Humperdinck’s own. The opera acknowledges the darker features present in the Brothers Grimm version of the familiar folk tale, yet presents them within a frame of grace and humor.

Tosca (Puccini)
Jan. 27 – 11:55 a.m.

Puccini’s melodrama about a volatile diva, a sadistic police chief, and an idealistic artist has offended and thrilled audiences for more than a century. Critics, for their part, have often had problems with Tosca’s rather grungy subject matter, the directness and intensity of its score, and the crowd-pleasing dramatic opportunities it provides for its lead roles. But these same aspects have made Tosca one of a handful of iconic works that seem to represent opera in the public imagination. Tosca’s popularity is further secured by a superb and exhilarating dramatic sweep, a driving score of abundant melody and theatrical shrewdness, and a career-defining title role.

L’Elisir d’Amore (Donizetti)
Feb. 10 – 11 a.m.

Pretty Yende debuts a new role at the Met with her first Adina opposite Matthew Polenzani, who enthralled Met audiences as Nemorino in 2013 with his ravishing “Una furtiva lagrima.” Bartlett Sher’s production is charming, with deft comedic timing, but also emotionally revealing. L’Elisir d’Amore has been among the most consistently popular operatic comedies for almost two centuries. The story deftly combines comic archetypes with a degree of genuine character development rare in works of this type. Its ending is as much a foregone conclusion as it would be in a romantic comedy film today — the joy is in the journey, and Donizetti created one of his most instantly appealing scores for this ride.

La Bohème (Puccini)
Feb. 24 – 11:30 a.m.

La Bohème, the passionate, timeless, and indelible story of love among young artists in Paris, can stake its claim as the world’s most popular opera. It has a marvelous ability to make a powerful first impression and to reveal unsuspected treasures after dozens of hearings. At first glance, La Bohème is the definitive depiction of the joys and sorrows of love and loss; on closer inspection, it reveals the deep emotional significance hidden in the trivial things—a bonnet, an old overcoat, a chance meeting with a neighbor—that make up our everyday lives.

Semiramide (Rossini)
March 10 – 11:55 a.m.

Among The Met’s season revivals is this rarely performed staging of Semiramide, this masterpiece of dazzling vocal fireworks makes a rare Met appearance — its first in nearly 25 years — with Maurizio Benini on the podium. Last performed at The Met in 1993, the all-star bel canto cast features Angela Meade in the title role of the murderous Queen of Babylon, who squares off in breathtaking duets with Arsace, a trouser role sung by Elizabeth DeShong. Javier Camarena, Ildar Abdrazakov, and Ryan Speedo Green complete the stellar cast.

Così fan tutte (Mozart)
March 31 – 11:55 a.m.

A winning cast comes together for Phelim McDermott’s clever vision of Mozart’s comedy about the sexes, set in a carnival-esque, funhouse environment inspired by 1950s Coney Island — complete with bearded ladies, fire eaters, and a Ferris wheel. The third and final collaboration between Mozart and librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte is a fascinating paradox: a frothy comedy of manners with an intensely dark take on human nature; an old story (it has antecedents in Boccaccio, Shakespeare, and Cervantes, among others) with a startlingly modern tone; and a beautiful score depicting questionable behavior. Every possible impression of love — from the loftiest to the basest — is explored in this extraordinary opera.

Luisa Miller (Verdi)
April 14 – 11:30 a.m.

James Levine and Plácido Domingo add yet another chapter to their legendary Met collaboration with this rarely performed Verdi gem, a heart-wrenching tragedy of fatherly love. Sonya Yoncheva sings the title role opposite Piotr Beczała in the first Met performances of the opera in more than ten years.  The three-act opera by Giuseppe Verdi, set to an Italian libretto by Salvadore Cammarano, is based on the play Kabale und Liebe (Intrigue and Love) by the German dramatist Friedrich von Schiller. This was Verdi’s 15th opera and is regarded as the beginning of the composer’s “middle period.”

Cendrillon (Massenet)
April 28 – 11:55 a.m.

“Glorious,” raved the New York Times when Joyce DiDonato sang the title role of Cendrillon at the Royal Opera in 2011. “Her performance was thoroughly enchanting.” Now, for the first time ever, Massenet’s sumptuous take on the Cinderella story comes to the Met, with DiDonato starring in the title role. She is paired with mezzo-soprano Alice Coote in the trouser role of Prince Charming, Kathleen Kim as the Fairy Godmother, and Stephanie Blythe as the imperious Madame de la Haltière. Bertrand de Billy conducts Laurent Pelly’s imaginative storybook production.