Press Room

Metropolitan Opera Guild news: October 2010


Opera News turns 75 this season!  In the October issue, the magazine celebrates its diamond anniversary with a look back at some key moments since its founding in 1936.  Highlights of the October issue also include profiles of conductor William Christie, cabaret singer Marilyn Maye, baritone Zeljko Lucic, and soprano Jennifer Zetlan, as well as features on Bernstein’s final stage work, A Quiet Place, how the internet affects the way we experience opera, and the changing enthusiasm of today’s audiences.  October also sees a presentation in the Metropolitan Opera Guild’s new “Met Mastersingers” series at New York City’s Town Hall on October 27.  This year’s honoree – only the second in the series, with Renée Fleming featured last season – is star bass René Pape, who will be appearing in the title role of the Met’s new production of Boris Godunov.

From Bayreuth to the Met and Caruso to Callas, the past three quarters of a century have borne witness to some of opera’s most legendary names and productions, and Opera News has been on hand to share them.  Founded in 1936, the periodical initially focused primarily on the Metropolitan Opera, before broadening its scope to include the larger American and international opera scenes.  In “All in the Timeline,” Tristan Kraft and Fred Cohn celebrate Opera News’s diamond anniversary by tracking some important moments in the glorious and illustrious life of the magazine, while Editor-in-Chief F. Paul Driscoll reveals a dozen things that he personally has learned from it about the world of opera, in “Life Lessons.”

A specialist in Baroque repertoire, William Christie is best known for founding Les Arts Florissants.  Despite having guest conducted at Glyndebourne, Zürich Opera, and Opéra de Lyon, until now he has never appeared at the Metropolitan Opera.  Online Editor Adam Wasserman talks to the American-born conductor in “The Constant Gardener,” as Christie prepares to make his long-awaited Met debut leading Così Fan Tutte next month.

Veteran cabaret singer Marilyn Maye appeared on the Tonight show a record 76 times, and received a Grammy nod for “Best New Artist” of 1965; Ella Fitzgerald dubbed her the “greatest white female singer in the world.”  Now Scott Barnes applauds her still-potent artistry, in “Maye in October.”

After Zeljko Lucic’s recent appearance in San Francisco Opera’s La Forza del Destino, the Financial Times christened him “one of today’s pre-eminent Verdi baritones.”  Scott Rose learns why the Serbian-born singer has become one of opera’s most talked-about baritones, in “The Verdian.”

For this month’s regular “Sound Bites” column, Adam Wasserman takes as his subject soprano Jennifer Zetlan, whose recent portrayal of Emily Webb in Our Town prompted the New York Times to observe: “Jennifer Zetlan…sings beautifully and affectingly.  The part could not be in better hands.”  Since graduating from Juilliard in 2006, the young soprano has made debuts with Florida Grand Opera, New York City Opera, and the Met.

Described as “containing some of Bernstein’s most richly wrought music” (New Yorker), A Quiet Place was the composer’s final work for the stage.  Working with a libretto by Stephen Wadsworth, Bernstein used tonally daring music to create an emotionally searing and deeply moving parable of alienation and reconciliation in a modern, middle-class American family.  In “Family Portrait,” William R. Braun revisits A Quiet Place, which is finally poised to receive its overdue New York premiere.  The new production by Christopher Alden boasts a strong ensemble cast, and opens at the New York City Opera later this month.

While opera’s detractors are quick to dismiss it as dull, the initiated have traditionally belied them, proving passionate in their devotion to the art.  But is this a thing of the past?  Features Editor Brian Kellow believes that opera audiences seem disengaged, and wonders what’s happened to make them that way, in a piece titled – after the 1932 cartoon – “The Crowd Snores.”

In 20 short years, the internet has revolutionized the way we work, relax, read, and communicate – even the way we relate to each other.  Now, in the age of YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and streaming, it has changed the way people talk about – and read about – opera, as Daniel Stephen Johnson reports, in “Net Effects.” 

As ever, there are special extras exclusively for subscribers and Met patrons at the recently redesigned  This month there are interviews with Bang on a Can All-Star Evan Ziporyn, who chats about his opera, A House in Bali, which plays this month at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and composer Don Davis, who talks about the world premiere of his opera Rio de Sangre at Florentine Opera.



On Wednesday, October 27, the Metropolitan Opera Guild presents the second event in its exciting new series: “Met Mastersingers”. The series’ executive producer Paul Gruber invites celebrated bass René Pape on stage at New York’s Town Hall for an informal conversation about his life and career. Highlights from the charismatic bass’s filmed performances will be screened, and the audience will have a chance to hear Pape sing some of his favorite songs.  BNY Mellon Wealth Management is the corporate sponsor of the event.

Full details of “Met Mastersingers: René Pape” and other upcoming lectures and public events presented by the Metropolitan Opera Guild follow below. 


Upcoming lectures and public events from the Metropolitan Opera Guild
Wednesday, October 27 at 8pm
The Town Hall, 123 West 43rd Street, New York City
The Met’s Boris Godunov will be onstage with Paul Gruber to discuss his work, watch video excerpts of his performances, and sing some favorite songs.
Tickets are $45 for Guild members and Met patrons, and $75 for all others.  Following the program, join the Guild for an artists’ reception with champagne and dessert: $150 for premium seating and reception.  For tickets, call (212) 769-7009, or order online at
Friday, October 1 at 6:30pm – 7:30pm
Met Talks: New Productions of the 2010-11 Season
Boris Godunov
Metropolitan Opera House
Presented by Sarah Billinghurst
Mussorgsky’s masterful tale of the ambitions and struggles of a nation and its ruler returns to the Met in a new production directed by Stephen Wadsworth, with bass René Pape in the monumental title role.  Met Assistant Manager Sarah Billinghurst hosts this conversation with performers and production personnel.
Price: $20; Met subscribers: $15; Guild members: $10
Saturday, October 2 at 11am – 12:15pm
Opera Evolution: 1600 to 1800
Presented by Dottie Allen
What is opera and where did it come from?  Who were Monteverdi, Handel, and Mozart, and why are they important to this splendid synergy of art forms?  Find out on a tour of opera’s first 200 years.
Price: $16.00; $20 at door subject to availability
Sunday, October 3 at 4pm – 5:15pm
Beyond Boot Camp: Pieces of Production
Setting the Scene: Tricks and Techniques of Technical Theater
Presented by David Ellertson
Creating the right mise-en-scène requires careful consideration, plenty of planning, and more than one trick of technical theater.  Learn more about the process behind the props, sets, and lights that grace the stage through this enlightening presentation.
Price: $16.00; $20 at door subject to availability
Monday, October 4 at 6pm – 7:15pm
Das Rheingold: Voices from Valhalla
Presented by John J. H. Muller
Das Rheingold sets the scene for the epic music drama that unfolds through the course of Wagner’s masterful Ring Cycle.  In this first installment of the Ring, the ambitions of gods, giants, and dwarves conflict as the fortress Valhalla is built.  John J. H. Muller paves the way for musical progress through this enlightening examination of leitmotifs and orchestration.
Price: $16; $20 at door subject to availability
Saturday, October 9 at 11am – 12:15pm
Opera Revolution: 1800 to Today
Presented by Dottie Allen
Who were Wagner, Verdi, and Puccini, and how did their revolutionary ideas propel opera into superstardom?  Learn how opera has continually transformed itself since the 19th century, and what it’s doing to stay vital and relevant today.
Price: $16.00; $20 at door subject to availability
Saturday, October 9 at 1pm ET (expected running time: three hours)
The Met: Live in HD
Wagner’s Das Rheingold
The Met’s Peabody and Emmy Award-winning series of live performance transmissions to movie
theaters around the world continues for its fifth season, featuring a record twelve live broadcasts. Don’t miss the chance to experience the Met live at your local movie theater!
For more information, visit
Sunday, October 10 at 4pm – 5:15pm
Beyond Boot Camp: Pieces of Production
Creating Character through Costumes
Presented by Bettina Bierly
Clothes make the man, but who creates the concept for the clothes and costumes we see on stage?  Learn more about the decisions that determine the dress, and the talented tailors and skilled seamstresses who take a costume from concept to completion.
Price: $16.00; $20 at door subject to availability
Tuesday, October 12 at 6pm – 7:15pm
In Studio: Anna Netrebko
Kaplan Penthouse, 10th Floor Samuel B. and David Rose Building
Presented by F. Paul Driscoll
Don’t miss the chance to hear in-person previews of future Opera News online exclusives!  Anna Netrebko – dubbed “the reigning new diva of the early 21st century” by the Associated Press – graces the cover of Opera News’s annual diva issue this November.  Editor in Chief F. Paul Driscoll interviews the Russian soprano about her exciting season, including the Live in HD debut of her charming Norina in the Met’s Don Pasquale.
Price: $30; $35 at door subject to availability
Thursday, October 14 at 2pm – 3:15 pm
Opera’s American revolution: Grand Opera Meets the Great White Way
Historical Blends and Trends: The Operatic Roots of Operetta and Modern Musical Theater
Presented by James O’Leary
From commedia dell’arte and the Opéra Comique and on through the history of staged musical performance, composers have woven together spoken text and song-like arias with a comic plot, keeping the audience in stitches.  See and hear the evolution of Singspiel and the Viennese tradition through to the 20th century.
Price: $16; $20 at door subject to availability
Saturday, October 16 at 11am – 12:15pm
The Opera, Seen from Behind the Scenes
Presented by Laura Day Giarolo
Not everyone involved in staging an opera gets to take a curtain call – more than 1,500 individuals are responsible for every opera performance at the Met.  We’ll talk shop and get to know the many off-stage roles that give direction and bring a production from page to stage.
Price: $16.00; $20 at door subject to availability
Sunday, October 17 at 4am – 6pm
Masterly Singing
Staging the Scene
Presented by Dona D. Vaughn
These workshops and master classes probe areas of performance and preparation vital to the development of young performers, while showcasing opera’s most valuable assets: the directors, coaches, conductors, and singers of our stage.  “Park and bark” performances are a thing of the past; now opera singers must clearly convey the emotional complexity and physical prowess of their characters.  Acclaimed director Dona D. Vaughn coaches operatic singing actors on the art of
creating a character for the stage.
Price: $20; $25 at door subject to availability
Monday, October 18 at 5pm – 6:15pm
All About Boris: Murder, Mayhem, and Music
Presented by Dr. Harlow Robinson
A timeless portrayal of political ambition set in Moscow around 1600, Modest Mussorgsky’s majestic Boris Godunov uses history to illuminate the present.  As Stephen Wadsworth’s much anticipated new production takes the Met stage, Dr. Harlow Robinson discusses Boris – both real man and legend – and the opera’s richly layered musical world.
Price: $16; $20 at door subject to availability
Thursday, October 21 at 2pm – 3:15 pm
Opera’s American revolution: Grand Opera Meets the Great White Way
A Fork in the Family Tree: American Opera in Transition
Presented by James O’Leary
Fascinating rhythms and melodies come together in the early 20th century through works by George Gershwin and Kurt Weill.  With professional pedigrees stemming from Nadia Boulanger and Ferruccio Busoni, respectively, these composers each strove to create a quintessentially American opera that could be both commercially and artistically successful.
Price: $16; $20 at door subject to availability
Saturday, October 23 at 12pm ET (expected running time: five hours)
The Met: Live in HD
Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov
The Met’s Peabody and Emmy Award-winning series of live performance transmissions to movie
theaters around the world continues for its fifth season, featuring a record twelve live broadcasts. Don’t miss the chance to experience the Met live at your local movie theater!
For more information, visit
Monday, October 25 at 6pm – 7pm
Verdi’s Touch of the Poet: Seminal Works Inspired by Byron, Hugo, Schiller, and Shakespeare
Verdi and Byron
Moderated by Jesse Cohen; presented by Dr. John Louis DiGaetani and Jane Marsh
The literary works of Lord Byron inspired many composers, including Donizetti, Berlioz, and Wolf, as well as Verdi.  This examination of poetic and musical phrases will focus on Verdi’s interpretation in I Due Foscari and Il Corsaro.
Price: $20.00; $25 at door subject to availability
Monday, October 26 at 6pm – 7:15pm
Into the Fire: The Twists and Turns of Il Trovatore
Presented by Jane Marsh
Il Trovatore is notorious for its convoluted storyline, but Verdi’s strikingly powerful music sweeps away all dramatic improbabilities.  Jane Marsh serves as your musical guide through the twists and turns of this opera.
Price: $16; $20 at door subject to availability
Thursday, October 28 at 2pm – 3:15 pm
Opera’s American revolution: Grand Opera Meets the Great White Way
Opera Moves Uptown: Music Theater from 42nd Street to Lincoln Center
Presented by James O’Leary
The West Side of Manhattan was the scene of many important developments in music theater, largely sparked by the works of Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim.  All along Broadway, from 42nd Street to Lincoln Center, these composers have created works that combine the rich tradition of opera and the polish of classical composition with enough sass and satire to suit the attitude of the 20th century audience.
Price: $16; $20 at door subject to availability

Saturday, October 30 at 10am – 11:15pm
Beyond Boot Camp: For the Love of Opera
Boy Meets Girl
Presented by Laura Day Giarolo
Love at first sight can wear many guises, but the afterglow of affection is undeniably heard through arias and love duets from such romantic classics as La Bohème, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Rigoletto, La Fille du Régiment, and Die Zauberflöte.
Price: $16.00; $20 at door subject to availability

Saturday, October 30 at 2pm – 3:15pm
Making Flute Magic
Young children (aged 5-8) discover the operatic arts with their families through these innovative and interactive workshops, tied to the Met’s abridged English-language production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute.  By combining hands-on experiential learning with physical and vocal activity, workshop participants learn to follow a complex operatic plot, and understand the power of music, acting, and design to tell a story.  Workshop registration includes an orchestra seat to a Met performance of The Magic Flute.  As this is a family workshop, at least one adult and one child aged 5-8 must be in each party.
Price: $60; $75 at the door subject to availability
Sunday, October 31 at 4pm – 5:15pm
Family Ties: Verdi’s Fathers and Daughters
Father-Daughter Dynamics and Duets in Luisa Miller and Simon Boccanegra
Presented by Jane Marsh
These figlie remain loyal to their fathers through it all: love interests, political intrigue, family separation, and deceit.  Jane Marsh kicks off this series by delving into the father-daughter dynamics of Simon Boccanegra and Luisa Miller to reveal some of the most moving and musically inventive moments in all of Verdi’s operas.
Price: $16; $20 at door subject to availability
Weekdays at 3:30pm and most Sundays at 10:30am and 1:30pm

Go behind the scenes for an exclusive look at what it takes to make onstage magic at the Met!
Tours begin and end in the Met lobby during the Met performance season.  Backstage Tours offer a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the Met, and a chance to visit the expansive scenic and carpentry shops, where sets are built and painted; the costume, wardrobe, make-up, and wig departments that prep and primp today’s star singers for the stage; rehearsal rooms where productions first take shape; the massive stage complex where the action comes to life; and the crown jewel auditorium.
Price: $16; Guild members: $14; students: $10; $20 at door subject to availability
All events will be held in the Metropolitan Opera Guild’s Opera Learning Center on the 6th floor of the Samuel B. & David Rose building at Lincoln Center, unless otherwise noted.








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