Think opera plots are tough to follow? Try wading through the complicated drama playing out offstage at the Metropolitan Opera. At its most basic, it's the story of management and labor unions fighting over a supposedly dwindling pot of money.
When an opera company is in the midst of contentious labor negotiations, the results can be dramatic. This week, the war of words between unions and management at New York's Metropolitan Opera, the world's largest opera company, escalated. An Aug. 1 shut down now seems likely.
At the center of the debate is the ballooning Met budget, which stood at $200 million in 2006 but has since climbed to more than $325 million. Met General Manager Peter Gelb asserts that union salaries and benefits are his biggest costs, accounting for two-thirds of the operating budget.
The Metropolitan Opera's 2013/2014 broadcast season concludes this Saturday with Gioacchino Rossini's La Cenerentola, starring mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato in the title role, and tenor Juan Diego Flórez as her Prince Charming. Alessandro Corbelli and Luca Pisaroni complete the cast, with Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi leading the effervescent score. Saturday, May 10, 1 to 4:30 pm.
An exciting newcomer joins three acclaimed bel canto stars in Bellini’s final opera, a vocal showcase that features one of opera’s greatest mad scenes. Olga Peretyatko makes her highly anticipated Met debut as Elvira, the young woman driven to madness, opposite Lawrence Brownlee, Mariusz Kwiecien, and Michele Pertusi. Vincenzo Bellini: I PURITANI, Saturday, May 4, 1 to 4:30 pm on WRTI.
Will she marry for love or money? Swedish soprano Malin Byström stars in the title role of Strauss’s nostalgic romantic comedy that explores the fleeting charms of youth, opposite Michael Volle and Juliane Banse. Philippe Auguin conducts.
In the title role, Malin Byström, "elegant in both looks and tone, and sounding full and flexible, is uncannily reminiscent of Kiri Te Kanawa... her voice has silvery plush..."
After their powerful pairing in Il Trovatore, Marcelo Álvarez and Patricia Racette reunite in Giordano’s melodramatic story of life in times of revolutionary fervor, a passionate tale of the ill-fated love of a dashing poet and an aristocratic lady, set against the backdrop of the French Revolution. Saturday, April 12, 1 to 4 pm on WRTI.
Giacomo Puccini’s moving story of young love is the most-performed opera in Met history—and with good reason. Anita Hartig stars as the frail Mimì in Franco Zeffirelli’s classic production, with Vittorio Grigolo in the role of her passionate lover, Rodolfo. Saturday, April 5, 1 to 4 pm.
Soprano Anita Hartig made her Metropolitan Opera debut this week as Mimì in Puccini's classic work, La Boheme. If singing one of opera's most iconic roles at America's foremost opera house is not pressure enough, the Romanian soprano will also be performing for millions in movie theaters around the world in theMet Live in HD series, and on the radio via the Metropolitan Opera's Saturday Matinee B
German soprano Diana Damrau stars as Amina opposite the rising Mexican tenor and bel canto specialist Javier Camarena as Elvino in Bellini’s sweet love story, with its unforgettable sleepwalking aria for the heroine. Marco Armiliato conducts. Vincenzo Bellini: LA SONNAMBULA (sung in Italian), Saturday, March 29, 1 to 4:30 pm on WRTI 90.1 FM.
Jonas Kaufmann stars in the title role of Massenet's sublime adaptation of Goethe's revolutionary and tragic romance, opposite Sophie Koch as Charlotte. Rising young maestro Alain Altinoglu conducts.
Werther is "another success for Mr. Kaufmann, currently the most in-demand, versatile and exciting tenor in opera... Mr. Kaufmann is ideal in the role. He sings with dark colorings, melting warmth, virile intensity and powerful top notes." (New York Times)
Sophie Koch, "in her overdue Met debut... brings a plush, strong voice and aching vulnerability to Charlotte... [She] sang with gleaming intensity." (New York Times)
"Alain Altinoglu led a beautifully restrained account of the score, drawing supple, deep-textured and nuanced playing from the Met orchestra." (New York Times)