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NYC’s 5 Best Opera Performances

May 4, 2012 6:00 AM

(credit: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera)

(credit: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera)

Some of the most powerful voices in the world are singing from New York stages right now. The best performances depend on the singer, the stage design and the story.

Metropolitan Opera House

metopera NYCs 5 Best Opera Performances

(credit: Jennifer Eberhart)

Lincoln Center
New York, NY 10023
(212) 362-6000
Prices: $17-$430

The Metropolitan Opera has recently released their 2012/2013 performance schedule, which lives up to the Met’s high standards. New performances begin this fall, so you have plenty of time to find seats.

aida NYCs 5 Best Opera Performances


Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Sung in Italian with subtitles

Dates: November 23 through December 28
Click here for performance information.

“Aida” is arguably the best known opera of all time, and it’s back for another year at the Met. The storyline, written by opera legend Giuseppe Verdi, takes place in ancient Egypt, following an Ethiopian princess named Aida who is brought to Egypt as a slave. Radames, a military commander, falls in love with her despite the affections that the Pharaoh’s daughter, Amneris, offers him. A complicated love triangle and historical view of ancient Egypt, this opera was first performed in Cairo, Egypt in 1871. It is loved by many and performed around the world. The Met’s performance will take place this November, starring Liudmyla Monastyrska and Hui He (Aida), Marco Berti and Roberto Alagna (Radames) and Olga Borodina (Amneris). The performance will be all the more entrancing because of the brilliant costuming and stage design.

Related: “Hansel and Gretel” at the Metropolitan Opera

carmen NYCs 5 Best Opera Performances

(credit: Ken Howard/Met Opera)

Composer: George Bizet
Sung in French with subtitles

Dates: September 28 through October 18
Click here for performance information.

“Carmen” is also a beloved opera performed around the world, and this season it will show at the Met from September through October. After much critical acclaim, Anita Rachvelishvili returns to perform the title role. Opening in Paris in 1875 as a failure, it was introduced to Vienna in the same year and garnered rave reviews, making the show as popular as it is today. In the opera, Carmen, a fiery gypsy from Spain, cavorts with Don Jose, a corporal. This corporal falls in love with her, leading to a number of comedic consequences. Carmen however, has other plans, and leaves Don Jose for bullfighter Escamillo. The opera ends in tragedy when Don Jose murders his former love out of jealousy. Yonghoon Lee plays Don Jose, Kate Royal is Michaela, Don Jose’s first love, and Teddy Tahu Rhodes plays Escamillo.

dongiovanni 225 NYCs 5 Best Opera Performances

(credit: Nick Heavican/Metropolitan Opera)

“Don Giovanni”
Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Sung in Italian with subtitles

Dates: November 28 through December 20, 2012
Click here for performance information.

What opera-goer could miss “Don Giovanni”? Composed by Mozart, this comedy follows the promiscuous young nobleman Giovanni as he offends everyone he meets. Little does he know however, that supernatural forces are afoot with the intention to change his playboy ways. The title role is played by returning Metropolitan Opera singer Ildar Abdrazakov, with supporting roles by Susanna Phillips, Emma Bell, Charles Castronovo and Erwin Schrott.

iltrovatore NYCs 5 Best Opera Performances

(credit: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera)

“Il Trovatore”
Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Sung in Italian with subtitles

Dates: September 29 through October 25
Click here for performance information.

One of the most widely recognized operas is “Il Trovatore,” another Verdi production. The storyline involves a vicious love triangle between the lovers Leonora (a lady-in-waiting) and Manrico (a troubadour) and Count di Luna, who is unable to control his affections. The opera is a tragic story full of twists and turns, all ending in Leonora’s death by poison as she vows she would rather die in her lover’s arms than live in marriage to another. The music in this opera will make you want to return for every performance, packed full of powerful and captivating songs that tug at your heartstrings. Performers for the show include Carmen Giannattasio, Sondra Radvanovksy, Patricia Racette, Angela Meade, Marco Berti, Franco Vassallo and Alexey Markov.

Related: Met Opera’s ‘Summer HD Festival’ Coming To Lincoln Center

Jennifer Eberhart is currently an art history/museum studies graduate student at The City College in New York. She is an avid art enthusiast, and visits as many museums and galleries as she can in her free time. Her work can be found at

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