Earlier this fall, the Met and PBS invited viewers to go to the Great Performances website (www.pbs.org/gperf) and choose their top ten favorites out of a selection of excerpts from three decades' worth of Met telecasts, all available in streaming audio and video on demand.
"We thought it would be fun for opera lovers to have their say," explained Peter Gelb, the Metropolitan Opera's general manager.
A few among the excerpts on the ballot were:
- The very first Live from the Met telecast, a 1977 La Bohme starring Luciano Pavarotti and Renata Scotto.
- Plšcido Domingo in the title role of Verdi's Otello (1979).
- Leontyne Price in her 1985 Metropolitan Opera farewell as Aida.
- Joan Sutherland as Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor (1982).
- Birgit Nilsson in the searing title role of Strauss's Elektra (1981).
- Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, featuring Ren_e Fleming and Dmitri Hvorostovsky in last year's high-definition simulcast.
- Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia, in the new production by Bartlett Sher starring Juan Diego Fl‹rez, Joyce di Donato, Peter Mattei and John Del Carlo.
- Bellini's I Puritani starring Anna Netrebko.
Which excerpts actually won the vote? PBS isn't telling until Renée reveals the results on the air in this special two-hour presentation.
Great Moments at the Met: Viewer's Choice airs on New York's WNET-TV on Sunday, Dec. 2 at 8 p.m. (just before a rebroadcast of the original Three Tenors concert). Check your local listings for the broadcast time in your area.