The Metropolitan Opera is continuing to affirm its status as one of America's essential cultural institutions with a seventh slate of its hugely popular Live in HD series of archival performances, streamed for free every night this week. The lineup for April 27 through May 3 includes one of the greatest moments in the history of the opera house: Leontyne Price's unforgettable farewell performance in Verdi's Aida. (Click here for the Met lineup for May 25 through May 31.)
The operas go live each night on the Met's website at 7:30pm EDT; you can also watch them through the Met Opera on Demand app on multiple devices. Each production stays up until 6:30pm EDT the following day. The full schedule is below.
Friday night's 1985 production of Aida, chosen by viewers, is the first performance in the Met's free series to predate the HD era. But what is lost in image clarity is more than made up in artistry and emotion. One of the leading sopranos of the 20th century, Leontyne Price had been a Met star since 1961, and this performance marked her permanent retirement from the opera stage at the age of 57. Her rendition of the Act III aria "O Patria Mia," in which Aida bids goodbye to her homeland, was chosen by viewers in 2007 as the most memorable moment in the then-30-year history of Met broadcasts. On Friday you can see why: Not only is the singing gorgeous—she glides with astonishing ease into the aria's famously difficult high C—but as Price absorbs the crowd's three-minute ovation, a close-up on her face captures the deep well of feeling behind the singer's normally steely mien. It's breathtaking.
This week's offerings also include all three parts of Donizetti's trilogy about England's Tudor era—Anna Bolena (with Anna Netrebko), Maria Stuarda and Roberto Devereux—plus Verdi's Luisa Miller, Borodin's Prince Igor and a rare modern offering: Nico Muhly and Nicholas Wright's Hitchcock thriller Marnie, which premiered in 2017. Consult the Met's handy thumbnail guide to figure out which of these you might enjoy most; the Met's full page of articles and podcasts offers additional insights into each of the works.
This week's Metropolitan Opera Live in HD schedule:
Monday, April 27: Donizetti’s Anna Bolena
Starring Anna Netrebko, Ekaterina Gubanova, Stephen Costello and Ildar Abdrazakov
Tuesday, April 28: Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda
Starring Elza van den Heever, Joyce DiDonato, and Matthew Polenzani
Wednesday, April 29: Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux
Starring Sondra Radvanovsky, Elīna Garanča, Matthew Polenzani and Mariusz Kwiecien
Thursday, April 30: Nico Muhly’s Marnie
Starring Isabel Leonard, Iestyn Davies and Christopher Maltman
Friday, May 1: Verdi’s Aida
Starring Leontyne Price, Fiorenza Cossotto, James McCracken and Simon Estes
Saturday, May 2: Verdi’s Luisa Miller
Starring Sonya Yoncheva, Piotr Beczała and Plácido Domingo
Sunday, May 3: Borodin’s Prince Igor
Starring Oksana Dyka, Anita Rachvelishvili and Ildar Abdrazakov
Roberto Devereux // Photograph: Ken Howard