The idea of filming world-class musical productions live on stage in New York and then showing them in cinemas around the planet to people who can’t get to the Big Apple to see them in person sounds like a brilliant idea born out of pandemic travel restrictions – right? In fact, The Metropolitan Opera of New York (“The Met”) has been doing just that since well before COVID-19! It was back in 2006 when The Met’s GM Peter Gelb decided to film the company’s most dazzling productions using 14 different cameras and then air them to audiences everywhere from the UK to Mexico. The result? High definition screenings that are bigger and sharper than real life – and you don’t have to get on a plane.
With over 20 million tickets sold in 70 countries, The Met: Live in HD is a phenomenon that has been delighting opera lovers around the world for years. “It’s heart-warming to see so many supporters in Hong Kong throughout the years, with many of our patrons starting out as opera newbies and now becoming confirmed fans,” says FAMA Chairman LAURENCE SCOFIELD.
Now, 15 years after its launch, the new season is here. The Met: Live in HD 2021-22 season in Hong Kong is presented by the Foundation for the Arts and Music in Asia (FAMA), and includes premieres, brand new productions, revivals of classics and more. Here are some highlights:
#1 Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones
This marks the first time an opera by an African American composer has appeared on the Met stage. Blanchard is a jazz composer and trumpeter (and multi-Grammy-Award winner), and the show is adapted from the memoir of New York Times journalist Charles Blow, covering themes of sexual identity and masculinity.
#2 Puccini’s Turandot
A perennial favourite and with good reason. This magnificent production fills the Met stage with colour, movement and wonderful music. It’s truly opera on a grand scale, a golden production designed by the legendary Franco Zeffirelli.
#3 Massenet’s Cinderella
This shortened version of Laurent Pelly’s adaptation of the Cinderella story is something for the whole family. It’s sung in English and stars the lovely Isabel Leonard as the rags-to-riches princess. The wonderful costumes have to be seen to be believed!
#4 Verdi’s Rigoletto
This ever-popular story of vengeance and sacrifice is staged in a new production by Tony Award-winner Bartlett Sher, who sets the action in 1920s Europe, complete with Art Deco sets and elegant costumes.
#5 Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor
After enrapturing the Met audiences with her Gilda (from Rigoletto) and Susanna (from Le Nozze di Figaro), soprano Nadine Sierra takes up the title role of Lucia di Lammermoor, one of the most dramatically challenging operas in the repertoire.
#6 Brett Dean’s Hamlet
Australian composer Brett Dean captivated audiences when he first presented his take on the classic Shakespearean tragedy Hamlet at Glyndebourne Festival in 2017. The original director of the premiere, Neil Armfield, now brings this riveting opera to the Met.
- Verdi’s Don Carlos: a story of forbidden love and political conflicts
- Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov: Considered to be the greatest representation of Russian operas
- Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos: An “opera within an opera”
- Matthew Aucoin’s Eurydice: The classic Greek myth of Orpheus reimagined
How to watch
Book now for productions starting from 9 January and running at different times throughout 2022 at Emperor Cinemas (Entertainment Building), K11 Art House, MOViE MOViE Pacific Place, and Premiere Elements. Tickets: HK$260 for adults; HK$210 for children, students and seniors (unless specified).
For programme details and online bookings, visit themetinhongkong.info.
This article first appeared in the Winter 2021 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.