Beginning, Wednesday, July 2, the Met will present Summer Encores, featuring select performances from the groundbreaking Live in HD series, in more than 400 movie theaters across the United States. One of those theaters is the Leura Hill Eastman Performing Arts Center in Fryeburg, Maine. The 2014 Summer Encores series will offer screenings of six popular Live in HD transmissions: Verdi’s Rigoletto (July 2), Verdi’s Otello (July 9), the Baroque pastiche The Enchanted Island (July 23), Puccini’s La Rondine (July 30) and La Fanciulla del West (August 6), and Gounod’s Romeo and Juliette (August 13).
Wednesday, July 2, 7PM – RIGOLETTO (originally transmitted live on February 16, 2013): Tony Award-winning director Michael Mayer’s acclaimed production, the talk of the opera world when it premiered in 2013, sets the action of Verdi’s masterpiece in the neon-lit world of 1960s Las Vegas. In this bold new vision—featured on 60 Minutes—Piotr Beczala is the Duke, a popular entertainer and casino owner; Željko Lučić sings Rigoletto, a comedian and the Duke’s sidekick; and Diana Damrau is Rigoletto’s innocent daughter, Gilda. Štefan Kocán sings the assassin-for-hire Sparafucile and Oksana Volkova makes her Met debut as his seductive sister, Maddalena. Rising conductor Michele Mariotti leads the Verdi masterwork, which features one of the most famous arias in all of opera, “La donna è mobile.”
Wednesday, July 9, 7PM – OTELLO (originally transmitted live on October 27, 2012): In Verdi’s retelling of Shakespeare’s towering tragedy, Renée Fleming gives a captivating performance as the innocent Desdemona, a role long considered one of her calling cards. As the title hero, Johan Botha delivers an imposing portrayal of a proud warrior brought down by jealousy, and Falk Struckmann is thrilling as the villainous Iago.“Conductor Semyon Bychkov led a vibrant reading of the score, building tension expertly in the third-act ensemble and creating a mood of tremendous pathos in the final scene” (The New York Times).
Wednesday, July 23, 7PM – THE ENCHANTED ISLAND (originally transmitted live on January 21, 2012): A contemporary take on the 18th-century genre of the pastiche, this delightful Baroque fantasy brings together more than 30 of the greatest arias and ensembles by Handel, Vivaldi, Rameau, Purcell, and other composers, with a new English libretto by Jeremy Sams, inspired by Shakespeare’s The Tempest and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The four young lovers from A Midsummer Night’s Dream find themselves shipwrecked on Prospero’s island from The Tempest, leading to a tortuous web of comic and dramatic romantic entanglements.The all-star cast is headed by David Daniels as Prospero, Joyce DiDonato as Sycorax, Danielle de Niese as Ariel, Luca Pisaroni as Caliban, and the legendary Plácido Domingo as Neptune. William Christie conducts this dazzling world-premiere production by director Phelim McDermott (Satyagraha).
Wednesday, July 30, 7PM – LA RONDINE (originally transmitted live on January 10, 2009): Puccini’s achingly beautiful score conveys the plight of Magda (the “swallow” of the title), who unexpectedly finds true love with the handsome young Ruggero. Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna, who portray Puccini’s star-crossed lovers, were praised by the Associated Press for “a vocal synchronicity and an emotional electricity that keeps an international audience riveted.” Nicolas Joël’s production of this rarely performed opera features elegant art-deco sets, and was described by The New York Times as “charming and poignant, with stylish and affecting performances.”
Wednesday, August 6, 7PM – LA FANCIULLA DEL WEST (originally transmitted live on March 24, 2007): Puccini’s musical vision of the American West is vividly brought to life in the Met’s atmospheric production. Deborah Voigt is Minnie, the “girl of the golden west” and owner of a bar in a Californian mining camp. Marcello Giordani sings Dick Johnson, the bandit-turned-lover hunted by the cynical sheriff Jack Rance (Lucio Gallo), who wants Minnie for himself. Complete with whiskey-drinking cowboys, gunplay, a poker game, and a snowstorm, La Fanciulla del West is Puccini at his most colorful. Nicola Luisotti conducts the work, which the composer told The New York Times in 1910 he considered “the best of [his] operas.”
Wednesday, August 13, 7PM – ROMEO AND JULIETTE (originally transmitted live on December 15, 2007): The world’s most famous love story comes to operatic life with Anna Netrebko and Roberto Alagna as the star-crossed young couple. Gounod’s ultra-sensual Shakespeare interpretation also features Nathan Gunn as Mercutio and Isabel Leonard, in her Met debut, asStéphano. Plácido Domingo ison the podium.
The Leura Hill Eastman Performing Arts Center is located at 18 Bradley Street, Fryeburg, Maine on the campus of Fryeburg Academy. Tickets for the Met Opera HD Summer Encore Series are $18 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $10 for students. Order online at http://www.fryeburgacademy.org/tickets or call the box office at 207-935-9232.