The Opera Lady: Enjoy summer encores 'Live from the Met'

Russian soprano Anna Netrebko as Aida.

Arizona Opera’s season is finished, and so for opera lovers, the summers are usually highlighted by the occasional PBS Encore of Met operas, our own DVDs, and some nationwide local live opera venues, such as Glimmerglass in upstate New York, Santa Fe Opera, etc.

We are very lucky that in Green Valley/Sahuarita, the Desert Sky Cinema will be offering encores on Wednesday evenings in June and July from the Live from the Met in HD series from past seasons, including Gounod’s “Roméo et Juliette” on June 19, Puccini’s “La Bohème” on June 26, Rossini’s “Il Barbiere de Seville” on July 10, and Verdi’s “Aida” on July 17.

Italian tenor Vittorio Grigolo (“Pavarottini”) and German coloratura soprano Diana Damrau are the eponymous lovers for “Roméo et Juliette” in a lovely production from Bartlett Sher from the 2016-2017 season.

For “La Bohème,” Grigolo (a legend in his own mind) sings Rodolfo. and Latvian soprano Kristine Opalais is Mimi from the 2013-2014 season, when Opalais — who had never sung Mimi — agreed to step in at 8 a.m. on the morning of this opera broadcast, having just finished singing “Madama Butterfly” on the Met stage the night before. Imagine, two Puccini heroines dying in less than 24 hours …

“The Barber of Seville,” from the 2006-2007 season, has Swedish baritone Peter Mattei as Figaro (aka The Barber of Seville), American mezzo Joyce diDonato as Rosalinda, and Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Flórez as Count Almaviva in Bartlett Sher’s production. Raucous and charming.

And, from the 2018-2019 season, Russian soprano Anna Netrebko as Aida and Georgian mezzo Anita Rachvelishvili as Amneris were equally stunning in their vocal fireworks. Netrebko continues to expand her roles as her voice darkens and shines, and Rachvelishvili is definitely up to the task of matching her with exquisite intelligence and shimmering notes.

Full disclosure: as you may know, the Opera Lady provides alternative and irreverent summaries and introductions to the Met operas for the Desert Sky presentations for a small stipend. And, as you also know, The Opera Lady tells it like it is, and never holds back with her personal asides.

So, beat the heat on (some) Wednesdays this summer at 6:30 p.m., and experience the joys of Met opera … again. Encore!


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