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Pass the popcorn: Watch the Metropolitan Opera live at the movies

Date published: 10/11/2012



The Olympics are over for this year. Now it's time for opera!

If the Metropolitan Opera Simulcast movies were the Olympics, the Italians would win the 2012-13 season, with nine of the 12 gold medals.

The season opens with Gaetano Donizetti's comic opera "L'Elisir d'Amore," a tale of a "fake" magic potion that truly brings love to everyone. This will be the only happy show of the season.

Giuseppe Verdi leads with four of his most famous operas, all filled with jealousy, revenge and murder.

The classic tragedy "Otello" is followed by the equally tragic "Un Ballo in Maschera."

The enslaved Ethiopian princess Aida and the hunchback court jester Rigoletto are perhaps two of the most heartfelt characters in opera. The setting for this season's Met production of "Rigoletto"--inspired by the Rat Pack--will be Las Vegas in the 1960s.

What these works have in common is that each has an irresistible soprano who will die tragically in the end because of a love interest.

Riccardo Zandonai also scores for the Italians with "Francesca da Rimini," a drama about a noblewoman duped into marriage. Inspired by an episode from "Dante's Inferno," the tale has been the subject of dozens of operas, plays and art works.

Several operas are built around historical characters. The ill-fated Mary, Queen of the Scots, is the subject of Donizetti's tragic "Maria Stuarda."

While Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and George Frideric Handel were not Italian composers, their operas "La Clemenza di Tito" and "Giulio Cesare" use Italian librettos for Roman imperial characters.

For French opera, there is the Trojan war epic retold in Hector Berlioz's "Les Troyens."

The English weigh in with "The Tempest," based on the play by William Shakespeare, which will be conducted by composer Thomas Ades.

Richard Wagner's "Parsifal" about an innocent's search for wisdom is the German entry this season.

But whatever nationality of the composer and whatever the theme, opera--like the Olympic Games--has worldwide appeal and shared grand moments.

Sheila Wickouski, a former Fredericksburg resident, is a freelance reviewer for The Free Lance-Star.

What: "The Met: Live in HD"

Where: Fredericksburg 15, 3301 Plank Road, Fredericksburg When: Saturdays through April 27. Starting times vary with each performance but are usually between noon and 12:55 p.m. "Encore" (rerun) broadcasts may be added at later dates.


Oct. 13: Gaetano Donizetti's comic opera "L'Elisir d'Amore"

Oct. 27: Giuseppe Verdi's "Otello"

Nov. 10: Thomas Ades' "The Tempest"

Dec. 1: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's "La Clemenza di Tito"

Dec. 8: Verdi's "Un Ballo in Maschera"

Dec. 15: Verdi's "Aida"

Jan. 5: Hector Berlioz's "Les Troyens"

Jan. 19: Gaetano Donizetti's Maria Stuarda"

Feb. 16: Verdi's "Rigoletto"

March 2: Richard Wagner's "Parsifal"

March 16: Riccardo Zandonai's "Francesca da Rimini"

April 27: George Frideric Handel's "Giulio Cesare" Cost: Adults $24, seniors $22, children (age 2-12) $18. Tickets available online via FathomEvents .com or at the theater box office.

Info: Fredericksburg Regal, 540/786-7796; metopera family.org/metopera/ broadcast