Fat Ladies In Helmets

Laura Marrich
3 min read
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Peter Gelb has transformed New York’s Metropolitan Opera since becoming general manager in the summer of 2006. His goal is broadening the opera house’s audience, trimming down opera’s overstuffed pomp and replacing it with populist circumstance. Basically, he wants regular people like us to enjoy opera again.

Central to Gelb’s plan are a slew of new productions that rework classics with fresh eyes and ears. He’s bringing in directors, designers and talent at the forefront of their respective arts worldwide to tackle the job. The most exciting thing about it is we’ll actually get to see it.

How? The Met is broadcasting eight live performances—in high-definition—in select movie theaters across the globe. New Mexico is one of the lucky markets. Simulcasts will be held at Albuquerque’s Cottonwood Starport (10000 Coors NW) and Santa Fe’s Lensic Performing Arts Center (211 West San Francisco), with eight productions on the big screen by the end of April 2008. Tickets for each performance are $22 for adults, $20 seniors and $15 for children. Here’s a look at what’s to come.

Roméo et Juliet

Saturday, Dec. 15, 11 a.m.

Running time: 3 hours, 30 minutes. 1 intermission

Gounod’s sensual treatment of Shakespeare is conducted by Plácido Domingo. Soprano Anna Netrebko and tenor Roberto Alagna are featured in the titular roles.

Hansel and Gretel

Tuesday, Jan. 1, 11 a.m.

Running time: 2 hours, 35 minutes. 1 intermission

An all-English libretto and music by
Engelbert Humperdinck (the 19 th -century German opera composer, not the laxative pop artist from the ’60s) cap off this much-hyped new production.


Saturday, Jan. 12, 11:30 a.m.

Running time: 3 hours, 20 minutes. 1 intermission

Yet another new production displays
Verdi’s Shakespeare-induced nightmare with baritone Lado Ataneli and bass-baritone John Relyea in the lead.

Manon Lescaut

Saturday, Feb. 16, 11 a.m.

Running time: 3 hours, 41 minutes. 3 intermissions

Perfect for Valentine’s Day,
Puccini‘s first great love affair comes to life more than 25 years since its last appearance at the Met.

Peter Grimes

Saturday, March 15, 11:30 a.m.

Running time: 3 hours, 45 minutes. 2 intermissions

Director John Doyle (who won a Tony for his treatment of of Sondheim’s
Sweeney Todd ) makes his Met debut with a new production of Britten‘s dark and multilayered social study.

Tristan und Isolde

Saturday, March 22, 10:30 a.m.

Running time: 5 hours, 35 minute. 2 intermissions

Wagner! The roots of atonal music are audible in this philosophically rich melodrama.

La Bohème

Saturday, April 5, 11:30 a.m.

Running time: 3 hours, 20 minutes. 2 intermissions

Anyone holding out for a breathtakingly festooned
Zeffirelli production shouldn’t miss this. Puccini’s most beloved work comes alive with all the requisite bells and whistles.

La Fille du Régiment

Saturday, April 26, 11:30 a.m.

Running time: 3 hours, 10 minutes. 1 intermission

Ending on a light note, a new production of
Donizetti’s comic opera features four-time Tony winner Zoe Caldwell as the Duchess of Krakenthorp.
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