an blog | AJBlog Central | Contact me

View Metropolitan Opera’s “At-Home Gala” Online (plus: Met baritone’s performance in my parking lot)

Opera fans have a rare chance to visit renowned singers in their own homes, thanks to the Metropolitan Opera’s At-Home Gala, streaming for the first time yesterday (Saturday) from 1-5 p.m. New York time, with repeat viewings today.

Screenshot of Met General Manager Peter Gelb & Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, hosting the “At-Home Gala” from New York and Montreal, respectively

A couple of weeks ago, my friend and neighbor enjoyed an earlier version of Met At Home in a chance encounter with Alexey Lavrov, a Metropolitan Opera soloist. Marooned like the rest of us, he has taken to practicing his art in an unlikely rehearsal space—our New Jersey apartment complex’s parking lot.

Fearing that he might disturb the neighbors by deploying his voice indoors at volume capable of projecting to the last row of the Met’s balcony, Alexey chose to vocalize in a remote spot with the unlovely backdrop of a corrugated container being used in connection with the repairs of our balconies (on which all work has now ceased, due to the virus crisis).

After a quick glance to check on his baby (who seemed quite accustomed to his robust baritone), he treated my friend to an expertly sung excerpt from Schubert‘s “Ave Maria,” which she captured on her smartphone’s video camera.

I later got Lavrov’s permission to post Harriet’s video here:

Video by Harriet Hirschenfang

As it happened, “Ave Maria” figured prominently in a Met “At-Home” performance (also recorded on phones) by a more renowned singer—soprano Renée Fleming, singing exquisitely in her Virginia residence and accompanied by the celebrated pianist Evgeny Kissin, at home in Prague:

Through 6:30 p.m. EDT today (Sunday), you will be able to access a replay of the performances by the gala’s more than 40 artists here. (Bear in mind that it’s four 4 hours long.) Visitors to that website are encouraged (but not required) to contribute to “the Met’s urgent ‘The Voice Must Be Heard’ fundraising campaign.”

Speaking of voices that must be heard…

A NOTE TO MY READERS: If you appreciate my coverage, please consider supporting CultureGrrl by clicking the “Donate” button in the righthand column. Contributors of $10 or more are added to my email blast for immediate notification of new posts.

an ArtsJournal blog