What a difference two weeks can bring. Those of you that follow this space know that I recently was on vacation. The coronavirus was just awakening in our consciousness as I boarded a plane to New York City. “Wash your hands” became our new mantra and life was still bustling.
The Metropolitan Opera offered soprano Lisette Oropesa’s debut in Verdi’s La Traviata.
To Kill A Mockingbird featured Ed Harris. Ellis Island recalled my grandparents’ pilgrimage. Good Morning America’s live audience was treated to an intimate song by James Taylor. The spirit of Dorothy Parker and friends loomed at the legendary Algonquin Hotel. Greece’s Giorgos Tsalikis woke up Astoria’s Melrose Ballroom after midnight. And, the sacred 911 Memorial Museum offered a sober reminder of our country’s history.
Here we are, once again, experiencing an unprecedented chapter in our nation’s history. As we all face these new challenges together, I will continue to offer opportunities to seek joy, a brief escape, and laughter. To those accessing the internet, there are several new options popping up as we are confined to our homes in the weeks ahead.
American soprano Lisette Oropesa made her Met role debut February 26 as Violetta, a role that she had previously sung at the Greek National Opera, the Arena di Verona,
and Opera Philadelphia. Bay Area opera enthusiasts may recall her appearances in the past with San Francisco Opera in La Nozze di Figaro and Xerxes.
Her outstanding performance drew shouts of “brava” as she made her impressive mark with the role. The New York Times called her performance “exquisite” and that it was.
There were several upcoming performances slated until Broadway went dark. The Met, along with most arts organizations, announced that all performances have been canceled through March 31. Today, however, The Met announced that the company has canceled the remainder of the 2019-20 season, which was to have ended on May 9, 2020. This includes all performances and Live in HD transmissions in theaters.
Met General Manager Peter Gelb said, "As devastating as it is to have to close the Met, this was the rare instance where the show simply couldn't go on. We send our thanks to our loyal audiences and we're doing our best to support our employees during this extraordinarily difficult time. We look forward to being reunited in the fall with a new season."
An emergency fundraising drive is being instituted to deal with the large loss of box office and other earned revenues caused by the canceled performances and scheduled movie-theater transmissions. "The money we raise will help ensure that the Met will return, so that our artists and company members will once again be able to perform in our house," said Mr. Gelb.
In light of this news and in support of the arts organizations, a recommendation is circulating online to consider donating any tickets you have purchased back to the organization – a wonderful idea!
In the meantime, the Met has launched “Nightly Met Opera Streams,” a free series of encore Live in HD featuring archived presentations streamed on the company website. The new offering began this past Monday and continues tonight, March 19, with La Traviata starring Diana Damrau, Juan Diego Flórez, and Quinn Kelsey (December 15, 2018), Donizetti’s La Fille du Régiment March 20 starring Natalie Dessay and Juan Diego Flórez (April 26, 2008), Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor March 21 starring Anna Netrebko, Piotr Beczala, and Mariusz Kwiecien (February 7, 2009), and Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin March 22 starring Renée Fleming, Ramón Vargas, and Dmitri Hvorostovky (February 24, 2007).
The schedule will be updated weekly on the Met's website. "Next week's schedule of transmission is all Wagner, with fitting themes of destruction and redemption," said Mr. Gelb.
Due to unprecedented demand and web traffic, the Met recommends you access the stream through the Met Opera on Demand apps for Apple, Amazon, and Roku devises and Samsung Smart TV. For more information on how to donate tickets or to receive refunds or exchanges, please visit metopera.org/updates or call Met Customer Care at 212-362-6000.
WEEKEND SCENE. Given the closures of night clubs and other entertainment venues, today I share Travel and Leisure’s Andrea Romano’s 12 famous museums that offer virtual tours for your visual and couch-sitting pleasure – British Museum, London; Guggenheim Museum, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington DC; Musée d’Orsay, Paris; National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul; Pergamon Museum, Berlin; Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam; The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Uffizi Gallery, Florence; MASP, São Paulo; and, the National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City. For more information and to access each website, please visit: bit.ly/12FamousMuseums
TAHOE SPOTLIGHT. In the spirit of thinking positive when summer arrives, take note of these upcoming concerts. Harrah’s and Harveys Lake Tahoe recently announced two performances to look forward to.
Tickets are on sale now for the legendary Bob Dylan who returns to the Lake Tahoe Summer Concert Series at Harveys on Friday, June 12. It’s been a decade since the singer/songwriter and Nobel laureate has appeared at this summer entertainment tradition. Tickets range from $69.60 to $149.50 plus taxes and fees. Tomorrow, March 20 at 10 a.m., tickets go on sale for country music’s Rascal Flatts who are slated to appear on Saturday, July 11. For tickets and more information, call 800-427-7247 or visit ticketmaster.com and www.apeconcerts.com. Given the current climate regarding COVID-19, please visit www.harrahstahoe.com for more updates.
Frosene will be back with you again Thursday, March 26, 2020.
La Traviata photos courtesy The Metropolitan Opera, New York