The Metropolitan Opera is offering free streams of old shows during the COVID-19 pandemic
A weird side effect of the pandemic? It’s temporarily made opera more accessible
Mar 16, 2020
Film festivals and plays in Metro Manila are being cancelled and postponed as we grapple with the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s the same around the globe, too: Just a few days ago, all of Broadway shut down to deal with the health crisis.
The Metropolitan Opera, the prestigious New York-based opera company, is suffering from the same fate. All of its shows have closed from now until Mar. 31 (maybe even longer), with huge financial ramifications. According to the New York Times, it “likely faces the loss of between $8 million and $12 million in box office revenues through the end of the month, and more if the closure continues.”
To deal with this, the company will be streaming old operas from their catalog “each night for the duration of the closure, starting Monday, March 16 for free.” The shows will be from their “Live in HD” series, which, as you could probably guess from the title, is a series of opera performances filmed live.
The company will be streaming one title at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time each night (well, that’ll be 7:30 a.m. for us) through their website and mobile app, and each stream will be available for viewing after, though only for 20 hours.
Here are the shows lined up for the first week (dates already adjusted to our time zone, which is 12 hours ahead):
Mar. 17 – 2010 recording of Georges Bizet’s “Carmen”
Mar. 18 – 2008 recording of Giacomo Puccini’s “La Bohème”
Mar. 19 – 2015 recording of Giuseppe Verdi’s “Il Trovatore”
Mar. 20 – 2018 recording of Verdi’s “La Traviata”
Mar. 21 – 2008 recording of Gaetano Donizetti’s “La Fille du Régiment”
Mar. 21 – 2009 recording of Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor”
Mar. 22 – 2007 recording of Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin”
Opera is notoriously hard to start getting into—it’s inaccessible, with high ticket prices and shows that are rarely filmed and distributed to the public. In a roundabout way, the pandemic has provided the Met an excuse to give viewers from around the world a chance to watch an opera.
Header photo is a screenshot from the 2008 Live in HD recording of La Traviata
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