Eugene Onegin kicks off Live at the Met season

Live at the Met, the Metropolitan Opera’s award-winning series of live, high definition opera transmissions to theaters around the world, will return to the 1891 Fredonia Opera House for its 2013-14 season with 10 magnificent new productions. The series begins Saturday at 1 p.m., with Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, starring Anna Netrebko and Mariusz Kwiecien.

“We’re very excited to be participating in our third full season of Live at the Met broadcasts,” notes Opera House Executive Director Rick Davis. “The feedback we have received on this series has been tremendous. There’s just something exhilarating about seeing an opera production presented by one of the world’s foremost companies and seeing it right here in Fredonia at the same time audiences in NYC are seeing it live.”

Live at the Met telecasts are now shown in more than 1,700 theaters in 54 countries, making the Met the only arts institution with an ongoing global art series of this scale. The Met was the first arts company to experiment with this type of broadcast, beginning on a modest scale in 2006 and growing every season since then, with more than 10 million tickets sold to date.

Met opera stars serve as hosts for the series, conducting live interviews with cast members, crew and production teams, and introducing the popular behind-the-scenes features; altogether the worldwide audience is given an unprecedented look at what goes into the staging of an opera at one of the world’s great houses.

Kicking off the 2013-14 season is Tchaikovsky’s fateful romance, Eugene Onegin. Netrebko stars as the lovestruck Tatiana, a bookish young dreamer who falls impulsively for the dashing, but aloof, Onegin (Kwiecien) in this lush new production by Deborah Warner. Set in the late 19th century, the tale moves episodically from farmhouse to ballroom, with a powerful snowstorm providing the dramatic setting for the finale.

Piotr Beczala is Lenski, Onegin’s friend-turned-rival. The production also stars Oksana Volkova and Alexei Tanovitsky and is directed by acclaimed actress and director Fiona Shaw. Russian Maestro Valery Gergiev conducts.

The New York Times praises Netrebko’s performance. “During the opening scene, she conveys Tatiana’s mousy demeanor. But the plumy richness and shimmering sensuality of her voice reveal inner feelings in this young woman waiting to be tapped by a man like Onegin. In the ‘Letter Scene,’ she went from hushed expressions of insecurity and longing to full-throated bursts of desire and soaring lyricism.”

Individual tickets to each of the operas in the season are $20, ($18 Opera House members, $15 students). The Opera House offers two subscription ticket offerings. A full subscription to all 10 operas is $175; and a flexible subscription consisting of eight tickets that can be used however the patron wants one at a time to eight different operas, all at once for eight people, or anything in between is $142. Tickets may be purchased in person at the Opera House Box Office or by phone at 679-1891, Tuesday-Friday, 1-5 p.m. Tickets may be purchased online anytime at www.fredopera.org.

The remaining 2013-14 Live at the Met season operas include: Shostakovich’s The Nose on Oct. 26; Puccini’s Tosca on Nov. 9; Verdi’s Falstaff on Dec. 14; Dvor’k’s Rusalka on Feb.8; Borodin’s Prince Igor on March 1; Massenet’s Werther on March 15; Puccini’s La Boheme on April 5; Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte on April 26; and Rossini’s La Cenerentola on May 10.

Live at the Met opera broadcasts are made possible by Dr. James M. and Marcia Merrins, who funded the purchase of the satellite transmission and projection equipment used in the series.

Chautauqua County’s only performing arts center presenting its own programming year-round, the 1891 Fredonia Opera House is a member-supported not-for-profit organization located in Village Hall in downtown Fredonia. For a complete schedule of events, visit www.fredopera.org.