Photo Journal: Metropolitan Opera Opening Night Gala Performance

Classic Arts Features   Photo Journal: Metropolitan Opera Opening Night Gala Performance
The Metropolitan Opera triumphantly kicked off its 2008-09 season on Sept. 22 with a gala performance starring Ren_e Fleming in three fully-staged scenes and including some of her most acclaimed portrayals.

The three-part evening featured Fleming singing the roles of Violetta in Act II of Verdi's Traviata, Manon in Act III of Massenet's Manon, and Madeleine in the final scene of Strauss's Capriccio.

The program opened with Traviata conducted by Met Music Director James Levine. Ram‹n Vargas sang the role of Alfredo Germont, and Thomas Hampson that of his father, Giorgio.

The Manon act costarred Ram‹n Vargas as Manon's lover, the Chevalier des Grieux, Dwayne Croft as her cousin, Lescaut, and Robert Lloyd as the Chevalier's father, the Comte des Grieux. Marco Armiliato conducted.

The musically transcendent finale of Capriccio, conducted by Patrick Summers, music director of the Houston Grand Opera, concluded the evening.

Adding a bit of extra glamor to the proceedings, the Met commissioned three renowned fashion designers to create Ms. Fleming's costumes: Christian Lacroix for Traviata, Karl Lagerfeld for Manon and John Galliano for Capriccio.

Click here for a full program listing.


The Metropolitan Opera's 2008-09 season pays tribute to the company's extraordinary history on the occasion of its 125th anniversary, while also emphasizing the Met's renewed commitment to advancing the art form. The upcoming season features six new productions, 18 revivals, the final performances of Otto Schenk's production of Wagner's Ring cycle conducted by Levine, and two gala celebrations.

New productions include the company premiere of John Adams's Doctor Atomic as well as the Met's first staged production of Berlioz's La Damnation de Faust, and Massenet's ThaÇs, Puccini's La Rondine, Verdi's Il Trovatore, and Bellini's La Sonnambula. Future seasons include new presentations of John Corigliano's The Ghosts of Versailles (2009-10) and Thomas Ads's The Tempest (2011-12).

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Here is a look at the Opening Gala performers and designs. Photos taken at the September 19 dress rehearsal.

All photos by Ken Howard for the Metropolitan Opera.

La Traviata, Act II

Ren_e Fleming as Violetta
Ram‹n Vargas as Alfredo
Ram‹n Vargas as Alfredo and Thomas Hampson as Germont
Thomas Hampson as Germont and Ren_e Fleming as Violetta
Ren_e Fleming as Violetta and Ram‹n Vargas as Alfredo
Met Opera Chorus members
Met Opera Chorus members

Manon, Act III

Ren_e Fleming as Manon
Ren_e Fleming and Ramon Vargas
Ramon Vargas as Chevalier des Grieux and Robert Lloyd as Count des Grieux
Ren_e Fleming
Dwayne Croft as Lescaut
Met Opera Chorus

Capriccio, Final Scene

Ren_e Fleming as Madeleine
Ren_e Fleming as Madeleine
Ren_e Fleming and Michael Devlin
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