Love can conquer all, and if there are any lingering doubts about it the Metropolitan Opera's fabulous production of Puccini's Turandot, which returned to the stage last night with a solid cast, should erase them.
The principals for this season's Ballo are the same that sang the premiere of the current production in 2012 with one main exception -- Beczala taking over the role of King Gustavo III of Sweden. And with Levine now conducting the always splendid Met Orchestra, the evening is a musical joy.
The Russian soprano captivated a first night audience with her bravura performance as the doomed Scottish lass, culminating in a heart-stopping Mad Scene that can take its place among those of the storied singers who have made the role a signature of their virtuosity.
As always with James Levine in the pit, a night at the opera is something special, and the Metropolitan Opera's second round of performances of Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann with a new cast led by the tenor Matthew Polenzani is no exception.
It is always a special occasion when the Metropolitan Opera stages a premiere and its first production of Rossini's melodious and stirring La Donna del Lago boasts the exquisite Joyce DiDonato in the title role and Juan Diego Florez as the Scottish king who is captivated by her.
In the case of Klinghoffer, as in the case of Cruising, the bottom lines for me are simple. I am concerned about some of the rhetoric and tactics of some gay radicals, but I am a lot more concerned about homophobia.
Few operas can match Bizet's Carmen for passion, jealousy, revenge, and ultimate tragedy, set to stirring and glorious music, and the Met Opera's sweeping production by Richard Eyre brings it all vividly to life.
All's well that ends well, Shakespeare observed, and the summer of the Metropolitan Opera's discontent could not have ended any better than with its smashing new production of Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro.
Now the Metropolitan Opera, my home for over 20 years of my 34-year career, is in the final hours of labor negotiations. We have been told there will be a lockout starting at midnight Thursday evening when the fiscal year closes.
Why do we value our artists so little in the U.S. that we question whether $100,000 per year is too much money to earn for essentially being the backbone of the most well regarded opera house in the country?