Poignant Return for Met Opera After 18-month Pandemic Pause

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NEW YORK—Even earlier the archetypal note, determination were a brace of lasting ovations—one erstwhile the chorus filed successful and different erstwhile concertmaster Benjamin Bowman walked connected to tune up the orchestra.

About 90 minutes later, erstwhile conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin relaxed his arms, the 3,600 radical filling the seats of the Metropolitan Opera House responded with 8.5 minutes of thunderous applause, bringing wide smiles and hints of tears to the 200-plus performers connected stage.

For the archetypal clip successful 550 days, an assemblage was wrong the auditorium astatine Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts connected Saturday night, attending a poignant show of the Verdi Requiem. The nighttime was successful commemoration of the 20th day of the Sept. 11, 2001, panic attacks but successful information marked overmuch more.

The institution was performing successful its location for the archetypal clip since the coronavirus pandemic, including Met violist Vincent Lionti, adjunct conductor Joel Revzen and chorister Antoine Hodge.

It besides marked the archetypal show successful the location since the decease of conductor James Levine, the Met’s towering fig of the past half-century. He died successful March astatine 77, a small implicit 3 years aft was helium was fired for intersexual improprieties. Verdi was a specialty, and the past of his 2,552 Met performances was the company’s erstwhile Verdi Requiem successful December 2017.

Levine’s successor arsenic euphony manager was connected the podium. The 46-year-old Nézet-Séguin led a show of acold much interaction and subtlety than Levine’s last efforts, erstwhile his conducting was hampered by Parkinson’s Disease.

Following a twelvemonth of labour strife that culminated successful caller contracts, the Met orchestra of 90 and chorus of 120 led by chorus maestro Donald Palumbo showed the world-class presumption they reached nether Levine, basking successful the rapturous applause of an assemblage starved for unrecorded music.

The pandemic caused the Met to cancel much than 275 performances, including its full 2020–21 season, positive an planetary tour. The spread was the longest since the institution began successful 1883.

In the archetypal show astatine the location since Mozart’s “Così instrumentality tutte” connected March 11, 2020, the 4 soloists were each superb: soprano Ailyn Pérez, mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung, tenor Matthew Polenzani, and bass-baritone Eric Owens.

Some successful the assemblage congratulated agelong unseen friends and acquaintances for making it done the 18 months. There were nary speeches from the stage. This was the 2nd measurement successful the Met’s instrumentality pursuing a brace of Mahler Seconds performed outdoors past play successful Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park.

The assemblage appeared to beryllium 100 percent masked. Proof of vaccination was required for entry, starring to lengthy lines.

The archetypal 2 rows of the orchestra were covered, expanding separation betwixt the performances and audience.

Programs were integer only—the Met said printed versions volition beryllium restored erstwhile the play starts.

Gregory Zuber’s bass drum thundered during the a “Dies Irae (Day of Wrath). Perez and Polenzani sang ethereally. Nézet-Séguin conducted spaciously.

The Met’s opening nighttime is simply a marker of the commencement of New York’s societal season, a bid of white-tie and black-tie gatherings that was mostly skipped successful 2020–21.

A bid of Broadway shows volition commencement opening this week. The New York Philharmonic begins Sept. 17 astatine Alice Tully Hall, portion David Geffen Hall undergoes reconstruction expected to past different year. Carnegie Hall starts a constricted autumn play Oct. 6 followed by a fuller spring.

The Associated Press