In the summer of 1967, right after its inaugural season at Lincoln Center, the Met gave its first free concert in a New York City park: a performance in Queens of Puccini's La Bohme. Now the company is reinventing the parks format, with a one-night event in Brooklyn's Prospect Park on Friday, June 20. Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna will perform together in a concert of some of opera's greatest hits.
"The Met's parks concerts are a beloved New York tradition, and we're very excited about this special event," says General Manager Peter Gelb. "We expect that Angela and Roberto will attract a big audience."
To guarantee just that, the Met's parks sponsor, Bank of America, will distribute 25,000 free MTA bus and subway passes in a commemorative pass-holder, which will be available at select branches in the city. That means not only is the music free, so is round-trip transportation to Prospect Park. And for opera lovers who may not be able to attend, the Met will stream the performance live on its website; the concert will also be on the radio.
Real-life couple Gheorghiu and Alagna will sing popular operatic highlights by Verdi, Puccini, Donizetti, Massenet, and others. Romanian-born Ion Marin, a frequent collaborator of the couple, will be on the podium leading the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus. "I'm thrilled to be singing in the Met's special public park concert this summer," says Gheorghiu. "I can't think of a more romantic night than singing under the stars with my husband, Roberto, and the wonderful Met orchestra."
The concert ushers in the first official day of summer. It also marks the last time New Yorkers will get to hear Gheorghiu and Alagna together until another special seasonal event: the Met's gala premiere of Puccini's La Rondine: on New Year's Eve.
Click here to read Philipp Brieler's recent Q & A with the dynamic couple.
THE MET IN PROSPECT PARK: Ball Field area of Long Meadow in Brooklyn's Prospect Park Friday, June 20, 2008, 8:00 P.M. Rain Date: Saturday, June 21. For more information, visit metopera.org.