GP at the Met: The Metropolitan Opera Opening Night Gala Starring Renee Fleming
The Metropolitan Opera Opening Night Gala Starring Renee Fleming

There are galas and then there’s The Metropolitan Opera Opening Night Gala Starring Renée Fleming, premiering this March on Great Performances at the Met on PBS HD, premiering March 14th at 8pm. (in New York, the premier will be for SundayArts March 15th at noon. See more on the SundayArts Web site.) Recorded last September to mark the opening of the Met’s 125th anniversary season, the once-in-a-lifetime occasion showcases the soprano in three of her favorite roles: Violetta in Act II of Verdi’s La Traviata, Manon in Act III of Massenet’s Manon, and the Countess in the final scene of Strauss’ Capriccio.

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Adding special glamour: Vogue-worthy costumes for the star created for each of the scenes by designers John Galliano, Christian Lacroix and Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel.

“Much diva dazzle,” raved The New York Times. “It was a challenging feat to bring off. She gave her all and sang beautifully.” Added The Oregonian, “Fleming looked and sounded magnificent.”

The telecast, presented by THIRTEEN in 5.1 digital surround sound, opens with Act II of La Traviata, and continues with Act III of Manon and the final scene of the one act Capriccio. Met Music Director James Levine conducts Traviata, which has two scenes in Act II: the first at Violetta’s country house and the second at a grand Parisian mansion as elaborately staged by legendary director Franco Zeffirelli. Ramón Vargas sings the role of Alfredo Germont, and Thomas Hampson that of his father, Giorgio. Christian Lacroix designed two costumes for Fleming, one for each scene.

The Manon act is also in two parts: the first is the spectacular “Cours-la-Reine” scene featuring the heroine’s famous “Gavotte,” followed by the searingly dramatic scene in the church of St. Sulpice. Ramón Vargas is Manon’s lover, the Chevalier des Grieux; Dwayne Croft her cousin, Lescaut, and Robert Lloyd the Chevalier’s father, the Comte des Grieux. Marco Armiliato conducts. Fleming’s costume for scene one and an additional cloak for the second scene are by Karl Lagerfeld.

The musically transcendent finale of Capriccio, conducted by Patrick Summers, Music Director of the Houston Grand Opera, concludes the evening, with Fleming stunning in black as dressed by John Galliano.

The fourth of 11 Great Performances at the Met broadcasts this season, The Metropolitan Opera Opening Night Gala Starring Renée Fleming is sung in Italian, French and German, with English surtitles. It was recorded September 22, 2008, as part of The Met: Live in HD series. Gary Halvorson directs, with Susan Graham and Deborah Voigt as hosts and Jay Saks as audio producer.

Great Performances is funded by the Irene Diamond Fund, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, Vivian Milstein, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, public television viewers, and PBS. Corporate support for Great Performances at the Met is provided by Toll Brothers. Additional funding for this telecast was provided by The Charles E. Culpeper Foundation. Visit Great Performances Online at for additional information on this and other Great Performances programs.

For the Met, Mia Bongiovanni and Elena Park are Supervising Producers, and Louisa Briccetti and Victoria Warivonchik are Producers. Peter Gelb is Executive Producer. For Great Performances, Bill O’Donnell is Series Producer; David Horn is Executive Producer.

  • Sarah

    This Renee Fleming performance was suppose to air tonight, Manrch 14th. It is not on the Comcast TV lineup for tonight. Does anyone know when it will air in the Houston area!!!! Thanks

  • James Sanders

    Why can I not find any PBS stations anywhere in the western US planning to carry the broadcast of the Met Opening Night Gala?? So far, no Great Performances at all this year! Is PBS boycotting Great Performance or just the Met, or what?

  • James Sanders

    Why have we seen not one of the new “Live from the Met in HD” broadcasts this year in Tucson? Local programming stupidity or national PBS policy, or what? We are NOT a cultural desert out here! I hear that “King Lear” is coming, but what of all the others??

  • Brian Clever

    James don’t feel bad. I live just outside Chicago and can’t find any broadcasts either.

  • carol cameron

    Las Vegas, Nevada, PBS broadcast the gala tonight. I hope you all received it: voices, acting, spectacle, staging, pure joy. I miss the old days when Met stars traveled. Look also for performances on film in theatres:

  • Brian Clever

    Ok everyone I figured this out. For some reason this website does not list the Met events under the “Great Performances” schedule, but on another page which you can find by searching for “GP at the Met”. You will then see that “Thais” is being replayed March 29th. Good luck!

  • Linda Jones

    Luckily I happened to be in Las Vegas Thurs pm and saw part of the Gala. When does it get air play on WNED, Buffalo/Toronto

  • Gerry Daley

    WGBH is much too busy offering us the likes of more Doo Wop, Suzy Orman, and generally cruddy programming in the hopes that will make me want to increase my contribution. All it does is make me look for something else to watch and wonder why I give them money in the first place.

  • Barbara H. Adrian

    I just called Twin Cities Public Television to find out why we didn’t get the broadcast when Iowa Public Television supposedly broadcast it yesterday afternoon. They are researching it and will get back to me.I guess they’re not boycotting the Met!

  • Jim Berg

    Move to San Antonio. We get it here on Time Warner (except the timing is WAY OFF – only 4 min of final scene of Strauss’ Capriccio), but it is in two theaters – wonderful. Eleven operas this year and 9 next!

    Peter Gelb and company are my heros.

  • Alice Coryell

    I was lucky. I saw GP at the Met this evening on WTVI in Charlotte, NC. It was amazing. The music, costumes, scenery and Fleming were superb.

  • Friedrich Kleyhons

    I am not able to locate 2009/2010 schedule….has it been published yet and if so kindly advise website

  • Wanda Way

    To find the Met’s 2009/10 season go to their website. Check your local PBS station for next year’s line up of GP the Met. Viewers/donors for your local PBS decide the programing so make sure your station knows you want GP the Met. Also, the Met has HD Live simulcasts to your local movie theaters. Check the Met’s website for more information and program guide.

  • Reindl Franz

    Friedrich Kleyhons bitte melden bei

  • Delaware radio

    Las Vegas, Nevada, PBS broadcast the gala tonight. I hope you all received it: voices, acting, spectacle, staging, pure joy. I miss the old days when Met stars traveled. Look also for performances on film in theatres:

  • Salome Klay


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    Praying for them. Joe’s sister,aunt, grandparents and I(Mom) are in Branson now. We are so excited to see them. It will be our first time seeing their show since Joe was hired. Watched their performance tonight online. They sounded fantastic. Praying for their safe travels

In This Episode

  • The Metropolitan Opera Opening Night Gala Starring Renee Fleming

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