By Jasmine Wilson
“As one of many of the arts organizations forced to go dark last year, the Metropolitan Opera has proved to be undaunted, cleverly transforming a new season of Great Performances at the Met,” Executive Producer David Horn, Great Performances at the Met
Returning for its fifteenth season on PBS, Great Performances at The Met brings 12 new concerts with opera’s biggest stars, beginning with Renée Fleming in Concert premiering Friday, March 19 at 9 p.m. on PBS. Performing in locations from New York City to Norway, beloved Metropolitan Opera singers present some of their signature arias and duets in an intimate one-hour show. Bask in the sweet melodies of popular arias and discover new gems from the Baroque era to the present. Shot with multiple cameras linked by satellite to a control room in New York City, much of Season 15 is hosted by famed soprano Christine Goerke.
Renée Fleming in Concert kicks off Season 15 from the music salon of Dumbarton Oaks in Washington D.C. The beautiful program honors resilience, hope, joy, and love. In such a difficult moment in history, Fleming’s voice provides an invigorating warmth to audience members tuning in. Coinciding with Women’s History Month, the concert also includes arias and art songs featuring dynamic female characters exploring strength and vulnerability in complex situations.
The cherished soprano, accompanied by Robert Ainsley, performs works by Puccini and Massenet to selections by Handel and Korngold. Highlights include “Endless pleasure, endless love” from Handel’s “Semele,” Canteloube’s “Baïlèro,” and the Marschallin’s Act I monologue from Strauss’ “Der Rosenkavalier.” Yet, some of the most exciting moments of this concert are the lesser known works Fleming brings to life.
When she sings “And the People Stayed Home,” the barrier between screen and audience melts, creating a personal and comforting connection. John Corigliano set the viral poem by Kitty O’Meara to music and composed a version specifically for Fleming. Hahn’s “Si mes vers avaient des ailes (If my verses had wings)” transports the listener into the skies as her performance effortlessly soars through passages.
Fleming later brings us back to earth, landing in Auvergne, an Occitan region of France*. An astute ear may struggle to recognize the French language in “Malurous qu’on uno fenno” or the more popular “Baïlèro.” That is because these folk songs arranged by Joseph Canteloube are in the local language, Occitan. (*Wine lovers: These songs pair marvelously with a glass of Grenache or Syrah from the Pays d’Oc/Languedoc region.)
Renée Fleming’s stunning and thoughtfully execution of the music throughout this concert will mesmerize listeners. She explores the depth and complexity of human emotion across over 300 years, reminding us of the timelessness and healing power of singing. Watch Renée Fleming in Concert premiering Friday, March 19 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings).
Check out the complete schedule for season 15 of Great Performances at the Met. Please be sure to check your local listings, as dates and times can vary widely across the country. (In New York City, THIRTEEN usually airs Season 15 of Great Performances at the Met on Fridays at 9 PM.)
- Renée Fleming in Concert — Friday, March 19, 2021
- Jonas Kaufmann in Concert — Friday, April 2, 2021
- Lise Davidsen in Concert — Friday, May 7, 2021
- Roberto Alagna and Aleksandra Kurzak in Concert — Friday, June 4, 2021
- Anna Netrebko in Concert – Friday, June 18, 2021
- Joyce DiDonato in Concert —Friday, July 2, 2021
- Diana Damrau and Joseph Calleja in Concert — Friday, August 6, 2021
- Sonya Yoncheva in Concert — Friday, September 3, 2021
- Sondra Radvanovsky and Piotr Beczala in Concert – Friday, October 1, 2021
- Angel Blue in Concert – Friday, November 5, 2021
- Bryn Terfel in Concert – Friday, December 3, 2021
- New Year’s Eve Gala (featuring Angel Blue, Pretty Yende, Javier Camarena and Matthew Polenzani) – Friday, December 31, 2021