Nightly Opera Streams, December 21–27
Celebrate the season with a week of delightful Nightly Opera Streams perfect for the holidays—including a touching 1982 telecast of Puccini’s La Bohème in Franco Zeffirelli’s classic Met production (original set design sketch above) on Christmas Eve and Humperdinck’s scrumptious Hansel and Gretel on Christmas Day. Explore the articles and resources below to expand your knowledge and enhance your experience as you enjoy the screenings. A full schedule for the week is available at the bottom of this page.
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Get into the holiday spirit with a week of Nightly Opera Streams perfect for this festive time of year.
View the Playbills from the original performance dates for each stream, including synopses, program notes, and more.
The Magic Flute Illustrated Synopsis
Follow along with this week’s stream of The Magic Flute with a graphic-novel version of the synopsis—perfect for young opera lovers.
Stephanie Blythe Discusses Cendrillon
Last spring mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe joined Executive Stage Director Paula Suozzi and Assistant Director Peter McClintock for a virtual conversation about Cendrillon and took questions about the opera from students.
The Merry Widow: Behind the Scenes
In this video, follow director and choreographer Susan Stroman as she works on Lehár’s witty, waltzing operetta, with commentary from Renée Fleming, Nathan Gunn, and Kelli O’Hara.
Ambrogio Maestri Talks Food and Falstaff
An avid cook as well as a leading baritone, Ambrogio Maestri showed Renée Fleming how he rustles up his signature Risotto Salsiccia e Funghi and discussed singing the title role of Falstaff during the 2013 Live in HD transmission.
Franco Zeffirelli’s lavish production of Puccini’s La Bohème has dazzled audiences for nearly 40 years. This backstage video offers a look behind the scenes at how the monumental sets are changed.
Peek into the Met prop shops, where a team of theatrical wizards prepares a delectable spread of treats for Richard Jones’s production of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel.
Meet Sir Gabriel
Meet the adorable four-legged star of Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia in this backstage interview with a donkey named Sir Gabriel—and his trainer, Nancy Novograd.
Mystery! Music! Magic!
Tony Award–winning director Julie Taymor discusses her spectacular production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, which has had more than 100 performances at the Met.
Alice Coote Discusses Hansel and Gretel
Mezzo-soprano Alice Coote recently joined Executive Stage Director Paula Suozzi and Assistant Director Eric Einhorn for a virtual conversation about Hansel and Gretel and took questions about the opera from students.
Vulnerability and Strength
Teresa Stratas, who sings Mimì in this week’s stream of La Bohème, enjoyed a Met career spanning more than three decades. Read more about this fascinating and elusive artist.
Back in the Director’s Chair
After creating 11 productions for the company, director Franco Zeffirelli returned to the Met in 2008 for a revival of his signature production of La Bohème. He spoke about filming opera, respecting Puccini, and the “irresistible fire” of La Bohème.
Spirit of Radio
For almost 90 years, millions of listeners have tuned in to the Met’s Saturday Matinee Radio Broadcasts, beginning with a 1931 performance of Hänsel und Gretel. Explore some of the noteworthy events in the annals of the longest-running continuous classical music program in American broadcast history.
Mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard and baritone Christopher Maltman rehearse a scene from Rossini’s sparkling Il Barbiere di Siviglia and chat with Live in HD host Joyce DiDonato about developing on-stage chemistry.
Celebrating Renata Scotto
In more than 300 Met performances, great Italian soprano Renata Scotto, who sings Musetta in this week’s stream of Puccini’s La Bohème, riveted audiences with her idiomatic singing and powerful acting.
Director Robert Carsen on Falstaff
Food and drink were Falstaff’s great loves and provided inspiration for the sets of director Robert Carsen’s witty 2013 production of Verdi’s Falstaff, updated to 1950s England.
Designer Catherine Zuber has charmed theatergoers—and won seven Tony Awards—for her breathtaking costumes for the Great White Way. Before the 2006 premiere of Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Zuber talked about sexing up the look of Rossini’s classic comedy.
Holding onto Hope
Celebrated mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, who stars in Massenet’s Cendrillon, explains how this French take on the Cinderella story sparks joy in Laurent Pelly’s storybook production.
French Opera at the Met
Drawn from every era of operatic composition, from the Baroque to the modern day, a wide array of enthralling French works have appeared on the Met stage.
In Richard Jones’s production of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, which premiered during the 2007–08 season, food—and the absence of food—takes center stage.
Silence Is Golden
When an artist appears on the Met stage, there is generally some noise—but not for Rob Besserer, who appears in Il Barbiere di Siviglia in the mute role of Ambrogio.
Verdi’s final masterpiece, Falstaff—with its quicksilver ensembles and vivid characterizations—is a celebration of living in the moment, says director Robert Carsen, who brought a new production of the opera to the Met in 2013.
Verdi at the Met
The operas of Giuseppe Verdi have been performed around 5,700 times at the Metropolitan Opera, more than those of any other composer by a wide margin.
Cendrillon Illustrated Synopsis
Follow along with this week’s stream of Cendrillon with a graphic-novel version of the synopsis—perfect for young opera lovers.
Susan Stroman’s production of The Merry Widow opened on New Year’s Eve 2014, with Renée Fleming in the title role. Before the premiere, star and director spoke about the enduring charms of Lehár’s enchanting operetta.
A Man for All Seasons
Beloved bass-baritone James Morris—who appears in this week’s stream of Puccini’s La Bohème—reflects on singing more than 1,000 performances on the Met stage.
From the Archives: Humperdinck at the Met
While Engelbert Humperdinck was only the second composer to have a world premiere of one of his operas given by the company, only his fanciful Hansel and Gretel has remained a mainstay on the Met stage.
Wednesday, December 23
Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia
Starring Isabel Leonard, Lawrence Brownlee, Christopher Maltman, Maurizo Muraro, and Paata Burchuladze, conducted by Michele Mariotti. From November 22, 2014.
Sunday, December 27
Starring Lisette Oropesa, Angela Meade, Stephanie Blythe, Jennifer Johnson Cano, Paolo Fanale, Ambrogio Maestri, and Franco Vassallo, conducted by James Levine. From December 14, 2013.