Met Free Streaming – Week 3

We begin this week with one of the most gripping operas in the entire repertoire. Completed in 1956, it is a fictionalized version of the true story of the Martyrs of Compiègne who were guillotined for refusing to renounce their calling in 1794 during the closing days of the Reign of Terror. Isabel Leonard stars as the fearful young noblewoman, Blanche de la Force who joins the Carmelites to escape the horrors of the French Revolution and instead finds herself engulfed by them.

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The Met’s Wagner Week – Continued – March 28 and 29

Arguably this is Wagner’s cheeriest opera – if not his shortest! – and this particular production is a musical and visual delight, full of tuneful songs and lighthearted hijinks. Designed by Otto Schenk with charming traditional sets, it is primarily the touching story of Hans Sachs, a cobbler-poet in 16th century Nürnberg with a heart of gold. Hans is a widower, a dedicated member of the guild of mastersingers and the community’s most trusted inhabitant.

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Met Opera Nightly Free Streaming — Wagner’s Ring

The Met’s second week of Free Nightly Opera Streaming features the entire 2010-11 Ring Cycle on Tuesday through Friday (3/24-27). This uniquely stunning Ring Cycle (Der Ring des Nibelungen) was designed by Robert Lepage and features “the Machine” – a sometimes temperamental, but always spectacular 45-ton behemoth of a set constructed of articulated steel planks that can be elevated, rotated and twisted into gigantic sculptural elements. Incredibly vivid videos projected onto the Machine’s always changing surfaces create a brilliantly animated backdrop and seamlessly move us from the depths of the Rhine, to Brunhilda’s fiery mountain prison, to Siegfried’s enchanted forest and finally to the unraveling of the fabric of time and the downfall of the Gods.

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Backstage Review: ‘The Imaginary Invalid’ By Molière at Reno Little Theater

Molière’s audience was the French aristocracy and the king himself, Louis XIV, The Sun King. Perhaps a more accurate translation of the title would be The Hypochondriac. This would work better for Molière as he unmercifully ridicules the practice of medicine and the fools who pay for it.

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The Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD Series – Wagner’s THE FLYING DUTCHMAN, March 14 at 9:55 am

Richard Wagner’s first great operatic masterpiece, Der Fliegende Holländer, is the Met’s HD offering for March. Director François Girard has attempted to resolve some of the work’s more anachronistic aspects by telling the story from the point of view of its heroine, Senta. Be that as it may, the story of a young woman who is so obsessed with a mysterious old portrait that she eventually destroys herself in order to become a part of its haunted world will probably remain a bit of a stretch for many modern opera goers. Spectacular, violently stormy video projections – especially during the (long!) overture – contribute some modernizing magic as well, but in the end this particular Met production gives us a sadly static, darkly depressing reading of some of Wagner’s most glorious music.

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