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The Metropolitan Opera offers free streams during time of isolation


Social distancing has never sounded so good!

In response to the coronavirus epidemic, the government has ordered closed just about every form of entertainment to prevent large crowds from gathering and possibly spreading the disease. While some businesses like restaurants can keep themselves afloat with their takeout and delivery services, the cinema industry is hurting bad, causing some companies like Disney to make their releases available on digital platforms.

Now, New York’s Metropolitan Opera company, which has announced the cancellation of all shows until April, is making available a different opera to stream each night, free of charge. The Met, largely funded by private donors, is in no real danger of failing due to one month of missed shows, but it is an ingenious strategy for them to remain relevant during a crisis, and with the possibility of drawing in new fans to boot.

Met General Manager Peter Gelb in a statement:

“We’d like to provide some grand opera solace to opera lovers in these extraordinarily difficult times.”

The Met produced these recordings for viewing in select movie theaters around the world. These archived performances have been produced since 2006, when they were seeking methods for drawing in a new audience. The recorded performances cater to those who cannot travel to New York City for a performance, or who don’t want to spend a lot of money for an experience they are not sure they would enjoy.

The streams appear in HD, with wonderful sound quality. Viewers are treated to the Met’s impressive set designs and their supremely talented singing staff. The selected performances are the best from their considerably large catalogue.

If you have never had a chance to see an opera, this is the chance of a lifetime. There was a time when opera was the premier form of entertainment in the Western World. It was stylistically developed from the Catholic musical tradition, with many of the most famous opera composers learning their craft from their Church composer predecessors.

This week’s lineup featured some really great shows, including:

Monday, March 16 — Bizet’s Carmen
Tuesday, March 17 — Puccini’s La Bohème
Wednesday, March 18 — Verdi’s Il Trovatore
Thursday, March 19 — Verdi’s La Traviata
Friday, March 20 — Donizetti’s La Fille du Régiment
Saturday, March 21 — Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor
Sunday, March 22 – Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin

The streams are changed each night at 7:30 EDT and they remain available to view for 20 hours. The links can be found on the Metropolitan Opera website homepage, which will take the viewer to the Met’s On Demand website.

While they have only listed the first week of streams, the Met has promised that they will continue to provide these free screenings for the remainder of their closure. That means we’ve got 14 more opportunities to see some of the best operas ever composed!

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