The Redhead and I attended a live performance of the Metropolitan Opera in New York today. However, we enjoyed it from the wonderful Hettenhausen Center for the Arts (“The Hett”) on the campus of McKendree University in historic Lebanon, Illinois, about 5 miles east of us. The Metropolitan Opera has been simulcasting live performances for several years now as part of their award-winning Live in HD series. Here is a preview of their 2013-2014 season:
Today’s offering was Giacomo Puccini’s famous work, Tosca, starring soprano Patricia Racette as Tosca and tenor Roberto Alagna as Cavaradossi. Set in Rome in 1800, Tosca, an opera signer, and Cavaradossi, an artist, are lovers. Scarpia, sadistic chief of the secret police, has designs on Tosca and offers to spare Cavaradossi’s life in exchange for her love. Scarpia promises Tosca his men will only pretend to execute Cavaradossi and offers the two of them safe passage out of the country. Tosca reluctantly agrees but kills Scarpia when he makes a move on her. Upon learning Scarpia’s men have executed Cavaradossi anyway, Tosca kills herself by jumping out a window overlooking the Tiber River.
Here is a clip of Patricia Racette performing Tosca’s most famous piece, Vissi d’arte:
I have heard the music of Tosca many times, but this was my first opportunity to see it performed live. There are several humorous moments but Tosca is a tragedy, after all, and by the end everyone was dead. The music was phenomenal, and with excellent performances by the entire cast The Redhead and I thoroughly enjoyed Tosca! We counted about 55 people in attendance at The Hett, a strong crowd considering the turnout for other performances we have attended. People of all ages were enjoying the performance live in New York; however, in our theater only 5 of us appeared to be of working age. I am sure The Met Opera enjoys a diverse world-wide audience, but here in southern Illinois it is almost completely comprised of retirees. Not a good indicator of things to come.
If you enjoy opera, or if you just want to find out what it’s all about, attend a Met Opera Live in HD performance. Ticket prices are reasonable, and you just might become an opera lover!