May 28, 2024


Art Is Experience

Met Opera, led by Canadian maestro, to fundraise with live online performance

Renee Fleming, Anna Netrebko, Jonas Kaufmann, Roberto Alagna and Bryn Terfel are among 38 opera stars in 13 nations scheduled for the Metropolitan Opera’s At-Home gala, which will be streamed live on April 25 starting at 1 p.m. ET.

Singers will perform live from their homes and transmit via Skype to All Mobile Video, whose equipment is used for the Met’s high definition broadcasts to theatres during the season.

The show is designed to be a fundraiser for the organization; there will be a donate button on the landing page of the website.

The gala, expected to last about three hours, will air on the Met’s website and will be available for replay until 6:30 p.m. ET the next day.

“This is something that will be, I think, endearing as a live event,” Met general manager Peter Gelb said Monday. “But it’s truly subject to the quality of the individual Internet lines.”

Some artists quarantined as couples will perform together: Netrebko and tenor Yusif Eyvazov in Vienna; Alagna and soprano Aleksandra Kurzak in Le Raincy, France; Terfel and Hannah Stone, former official harpist to Britain’s Prince Charles, in Wales; tenor Stephen Costello and Met violinist Yoon Kwon Costello in New York; and soprano Nicole Car and bass-baritone Etienne Dupuis in Paris.

Singers include Diana Damrau, Javier Camarena, Elina Garanca, Rene Pape and Piotr Beczala. Gary Halvorson will direct from Los Angeles and Gelb will host from his apartment in New York.

In the lone pre-recorded segment, Met music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin will play a piano version of the meditation from Massenet’s Thais from his apartment in Montreal, co-ordinating with Met concertmaster David Chan from Closter, N.J.

Canadian Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the Metropolitan Opera’s music director, will play a piano version of the meditation from Massenet’s Thais from his apartment in Montreal. (Ralph Orlowski/Getty Images)

Artists used to jetting around the globe are stuck at home with time on their hands — and vocal cords.

“They’re available since they’ve nothing else to do,” Gelb said. “A few of them said to me this will give them a reason to start practicing.”

The Met has not performed since March 11 due to the coronavirus pandemic and has cancelled the rest of its season. It started an emergency fundraising drive of $50 million to $60 million US in an attempt to make up the shortfall in its $308 million budget.

The company stopped pay of unionized workers on March 31, including the orchestra and chorus, and cut pay of administrative staff earning more than $125,000.