Nightly Opera Streams, February 15–21
Franco Zeffirelli Week
This week of free streams celebrates Franco Zeffirelli, the Italian director and designer whose grand, historically informed, and intricately detailed productions have delighted generations of operagoers. 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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Enjoy a week of Nightly Opera Streams celebrating Franco Zeffirelli, the Italian director and designer whose grand, historically informed, and intricately detailed productions have delighted generations of operagoers. Explore the full lineup with this guide to the week.
View the Playbills from the original performance dates for each stream, including synopses, program notes, and more.
The Greatest Showman
Few artists have had a greater impact on Met history than Franco Zeffirelli, the beloved director and designer who died in 2019.
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.
Honoring Franco Zeffirelli
During the 2008 Live in HD transmission of Puccini's La Bohème, streamed this week, the celebrated director and designer Franco Zeffirelli was honored in an onstage presentation. This short video also includes excerpts from all his Met productions and comments from Zeffirelli himself.
Rallying the Troops
Take a look behind the scenes at how the Met’s stage managers, the company’s backstage generals, marshal the vast theatrical forces required for Franco Zeffirelli’s grand staging of Puccini’s Turandot.
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.
The Lifespan of a Costume
Year in and year out, the 110 artisans in the Met costume shops are responsible for clothing the multitudes that fill the stage night after night—from Chinese ministers to Russian aristocrats to the humble inhabitants of Catfish Row.
Ollie Takes a Bow—Wow!
A proud dog-mom remembers her bearded collie’s star turn at the Met in the 1992–93 run of Verdi’s Falstaff.
Puccini’s operatic thrill ride Tosca features a fictional diva that’s one of the ultimate showcases for the real thing. But at a time when the term “diva” is thrown around seemingly willy-nilly, what exactly did the composer have in mind?
The Tosca Timeline
The Met has presented nearly 1,000 performances of Puccini’s Tosca, starting with the work’s U.S. premiere in 1901. Explore the opera’s fascinating history at the Met.
Turandot: In Focus
In ancient China, a princess tests the worthiness of her suitors by posing a series of riddles—killing those who answer incorrectly—until a brave warrior proves he’s up to the challenge. Learn more about Puccini’s Turandot with our In Focus podcast.
Mirella Freni, 1935–2020
Last year, the Met family mourned the death of exceptional Italian soprano Mirella Freni, who stars in this week’s stream of Falstaff.
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.
Giant Among Giants
Learn about the Met career of great American baritone Cornell MacNeil, one of the great singers of the second half of the 20th century, who stars in this week’s stream of Puccini’s Tosca.
Carmen: In Focus
She’s one of opera’s iconic heroines, the irresistible Gypsy seductress who leads her jealous lover to tragedy. Learn more about Bizet’s Carmen with our In Focus podcast.
Vulnerability and Strength
Teresa Stratas, who sings Nedda in this week’s stream of Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, enjoyed a Met career spanning more than three decades. Read more about this fascinating and elusive artist.
From the Archives: Turandot at the Met
Arriving at the Met seven months after its world premiere, Puccini’s Turandot has long been a showcase for some of opera’s most exciting artists appearing in equally spectacular stagings.
Master of the House
With a 51-year Met career including nearly 1,700 performances, bass Paul Plishka is one of the company’s most beloved artists.
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.
A Tribute to Marcello Giordani
Marcello Giordani, who passed away in October 2019 and is featured in this week’s stream of Puccini’s Turandot, was one of the Met’s brightest star tenors in recent decades.
Zeffirelli Rehearsing La Bohème
In this mini-documentary from 1981, Franco Zeffirelli rehearses his new production of La Bohème and explains why he sees it as Puccini’s version of Romeo and Juliet.
Monday, February 15
Puccini’s La Bohème
Starring Angela Gheorghiu, Ainhoa Arteta, Ramón Vargas, Ludovic Tézier, and Oren Gradus, conducted by Nicola Luisotti. Production by Franco Zeffirelli. From April 5, 2008.
Tuesday, February 16
Starring Mirella Freni, Barbara Bonney, Marilyn Horne, Bruno Pola, and Paul Plishka, conducted by James Levine. Production by Franco Zeffirelli. From October 10, 1992.
Wednesday, February 17
Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci
Starring Tatiana Troyanos, Jean Kraft, Plácido Domingo, and Vern Shinall; Teresa Stratas, Plácido Domingo, Sherrill Milnes, and Allan Monk, conducted by James Levine. Production by Franco Zeffirelli. From April 5, 1978.
Friday, February 19
Mozart’s Don Giovanni
Starring Carol Vaness, Karita Mattila, Dawn Upshaw, Jerry Hadley, Samuel Ramey, Ferrucio Furlanetto, and Kurt Moll, conducted by James Levine. Production by Franco Zeffirelli. From April 5, 1990.
Sunday, February 21
Starring Maria Guleghina, Marina Poplavskaya, Marcello Giordani, and Samuel Ramey, conducted by Andris Nelsons. Production by Franco Zeffirelli. From November 7, 2009.