A Valentine to the Met Sung by Leontyne Price–The Opera House–Go Wednesday

metopera filmlinc(filmlinc.org)I’m writing this today so that those of you who are interested can still see this wonderful film and I’m going to start with the times and date you can still see it: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 at 12:55 pm & 6:30 pm and if you go to metopera.org/theoperahouse you can find the theaters showing it.architectgs fighting

(Film Society of Lincoln Center; architects fighting). If you love the opera and especially the Met, you won’t want to miss this, especially as we see and hear Leontyne Price today (still with an amazing voice) and many of her performances during the 60s. Opera of course is the background music for the entire film and part of the fun is identifying the pieces. Many were conducted by James Levine who was absent from the film perhaps because of the time period it covers.

ny times groundbreaking(nytimes) My favorite moment was the groundbreaking in 1959 when Leonard Bernstein conducted the New York Philharmonic and the Juilliard chorus in Copeland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” and in the most exhilarating performance of the national anthem you will ever hear. The entire orchestra stood to play it (I couldn’t quite see if the cellists were standing).  Rory’s favorite moment was Price taking the high note in the Verdi Requiem–chills, really.

By the way, the creation of Lincoln Center was considered important enough to bring the president of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, to dig the first shovel of dirt; he never looked so good to me. This was a huge American accomplishment in the arts–I must admit I never fully understood its significance before–and looking back, I am grateful to John D. Rockefeller and Robert Moses for their vision.

I was glad to see scenes from the opening performance of Barber’s Antony and Cleopatra although it was mostly about the horrendous problems with the sets and turntable. Price, who created the role, was serene throughout. price-louis melancon The scene where conductor Thomas Schippers had to count out the extra bars that Barber had to compose for Franco Zefirelli’s newly restaged sections was hilarious, in a kind of painful way.

Also, plenty of film from the old Met, which is great.  Rory reminds me we did go there once to see the Bolshoi Ballet; we were predictably behind a pillar.

Go if you can.





One thought on “A Valentine to the Met Sung by Leontyne Price–The Opera House–Go Wednesday

  1. I was there opening night in ’66, but only in the crowd outside.  It was right before I had to go back to Northwestern after spending a year at Kings County.  My parents surprised me by driving us there.  A sweet memory.


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