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Les Contes d’Hoffmann
Photograph: Courtesy Marty SohlLes Contes d’Hoffmann

The Metropolitan Opera is streaming its final set of free operas this week

The Met concludes its popular free nightly streaming series with a collection of audience favorites.

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Written by
Adam Feldman
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Last March, when New York City's public performance venues were forced to close their doors, the Metropolitan Opera was among the first arts institutions to respond to the crisis with virtual programming. Just days after the shutdown went into effect, the company began its series of Nightly Met Opera Streams, providing viewers around the world with a different free opera from its archives every night—a run that has continued for 70 weeks and drawn more than 20 million viewers. But now the Met, which plans to return to live performances this September, is bringing this tremendously popular series to a close.

The lineup for the Met's final week of free streams, from July 19 through July 25, was selected through a Viewers’ Choice poll, and it includes full works by Mozart, Bizet and Donizetti. Each opera goes live on the Met's website at 7:30pm EDT (12:30am BST) and remains viewable until 6:30pm EDT the next day. The works are also available through the Met Opera on Demand app on various devices. Full details about Week 71 of the Met's streaming program are below.

Pearlfishers, Les Pêcheurs de Perles
Photograph: Ken HowardLes Pêcheurs de Perles

The Met's final slate begins with two productions from the pre-HD era. First up is a 1998 account of Mozart's opera buffa The Marriage of Figaro with Cecilia Bartoli, Renée Fleming and Bryn Terfel, followed by a 1978 version—with Plácido Domingo, Teresa Stratas and the late Jean Kraft—of the traditional "Cav & Pag" double bill of short works: Mascagni’s tale of adultery and murder, Cavalleria Rusticana, and Leoncavallo’s sad-clown tragedy, Pagliacci. After a dive into Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs de Perles, the series moves on to Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Jacques Offenbach’s lively 1880 triptych of weird romances (directed by Lincoln Center mainstay Bartlett Sher). Natalie Dessay headlines Donizetti’s La Fille du Régiment on Friday, and Anna Netrebko stars in Verdi's Il Trovatore on Saturday. The series concludes on Sunday with the top vote-getter in the Viewers' Choice poll: Un Ballo in Maschera, Verdi’s opera about the assassination of Sweden’s Gustovo III at a ball. Marcelo Álvarez, Sondra Radvanovsky and Dmitri Hvorostovsky star in this 2012 performance, which is staged in film noir style

To help you choose among this week's offerings, the Met offers a handy quick guide to the operas as well as a collection of more in-depth articles and podcasts about them.

This week's Metropolitan Opera nightly streaming schedule:

Monday, July 19: Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro
Starring Renée Fleming, Cecilia Bartoli, Susanne Mentzer, Dwayne Croft and Bryn Terfel. Conducted by James Levine. Production by Jonathan Miller. From November 11, 1998.

Tuesday, July 20: Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci
Starring Tatiana Troyanos, Jean Kraft, Plácido Domingo and Vern Shinall; Teresa Stratas, Plácido Domingo, Sherrill Milnes and Allan Monk. Conducted by James Levine. Production by Franco Zeffirelli. From April 5, 1978. 

Wednesday, July 21: Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs de Perles
Starring Diana Damrau, Matthew Polenzani, Mariusz Kwiecień and Nicolas Testé. Conducted by Gianandrea Noseda. Production by Penny Woolcock. From January 16, 2016.

Thursday, July 22: Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann
Starring Erin Morley, Hibla Gerzmava, Kate Lindsey, Christine Rice, Vittorio Grigolo and Thomas Hampson. Conducted by Yves Abel. Production by Bartlett Sher. From January 31, 2015. 

Friday, July 23: Donizetti’s La Fille du Régiment
Starring Natalie Dessay, Felicity Palmer, Juan Diego Flórez and Alessandro Corbelli. Conducted by Marco Armiliato. Production by Laurent Pelly. From April 26, 2008.

Saturday, July 24: Verdi’s Il Trovatore
Starring Anna Netrebko, Dolora Zajick, Yonghoon Lee and Dmitri Hvorostovsky. Conducted by Marco Armiliato. Production by David McVicar. From October 3, 2015. 

Sunday, July 25: Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera
Starring Sondra Radvanovsky, Kathleen Kim, Stephanie Blythe, Marcelo Álvarez and Dmitri Hvorostovsky. Conducted by Fabio Luisi. Production by David Alden. From December 8, 2012. 

Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera
Photograph: Ken HowardVerdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera

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