Full of wit and invention, Donizetti’s comic opera is a delight. The famous aria “Ah, Mes Amis,” with its nine high Cs, is known as the Mount Everest for tenors one of opera’s most show-stopping numbers. Bel canto stars Pretty Yende and Javier Camarena takes on the challenging vocal fireworks in this revival, a co-production with London’s Royal Opera House and the Wiener StaatsoperLaurent Pelly’s hilarious staging. Orphaned as a small child and raised by an entire army regiment, the spirited Marie has grown up as the regiment’s ‘daughter’, raising morale and spreading joy. Tonio, a local man, falls in love with her and even joins the army for her sake. But a chance encounter with a noblewoman sparks a sudden revelation, and a tale unfolds of secret identities, long-lost family, and murky pasts.
Featuring some of the most glorious music ever written—including, of course, the Ride of the Valkyries —Die Walküre is the second of the four operas that comprise Wagner’s Ring cycle, a story of monsters, gods, and humans on a superhuman scale. When twins Siegmund and Sieglinde find each other at last, Siegmund promises to release Sieglinde from her forced marriage by killing her husband, Hunding. The god Wotan instructs Valkyrie warrior Brünnhilde to defend Hunding. But, moved by the twins’ mutual devotion, Brünnhilde refuses to obey, forging an alliance with Sieglinde that has far-reaching consequences for them both. Soprano Christine Goerke sings Brünnhilde, tenor Stuart Skelton and soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek are the love-struck twins, and Ring cycle veteran Philippe Jordan conducts.
Met Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin leads Poulenc’s masterpiece. As the French Revolution begins, shy Blanche, sung by mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard, becomes a novice nun under an elderly prioress—Met legend Karita Mattila. Blanche’s aristocratic family flees the Terror, but she remains behind, struggling between her fear of the guillotine and her duty to the convent. When the nuns are expelled from the convent and threatened with death, Blanche must make an agonising decision. In the shattering final scene, the nuns walk towards the guillotine singing Salve Regina: Their voices are cut off, one by one, with each stroke of the blade, until all are silenced. Poulenc’s devastating portrayal of faith and martyrdom is live in HD for the first time.