The Winners! PBS Audience Selects Favorite 'Great Moments at the Met'

Classic Arts News   The Winners! PBS Audience Selects Favorite 'Great Moments at the Met'
Earlier this fall, the Metropolitan Opera and PBS invited viewers to go to the PBS website page for the Great Performances series ( and choose their top ten favorites out of a selection of excerpts from three decades' worth of Met/PBS telecasts. (The scenes on the ballot were all available in streaming audio-video for voters to watch.)

Host Renée Fleming revealed the winning excerpts on a special countdown program, Great Moments at the Met: Viewer's Choice, which aired on PBS stations this past weekend. (Some stations may offer a repeat broadcast this week — check your local listings.)

Demonstrating the principle that the past always looks rosier than the present, only two of the top 15 vote-getters are from after 1987 — and both of those feature Fleming herself. The no. 1 choice was the title character's big aria from Verdi's Aida, sung by soprano Leontyne Price in her final performance at the Met. The late Luciano Pavarotti stars in three of the winning segments; Fleming and Plácido Domingo are each in two. Not surprisingly, Met music director James Levine appears more often than any other conductor.

The top 15 choices of PBS Great Performances at the Met viewers — selections which are drawing volleys of comment on opera fan blogs and websites such as Parterre Box ( — are as follows:

  • 1. "O patria mia" from Aida - 1985 (Price/Levine)

  • 2. "Che gelida manina" from La Bohème - 1977 (Pavarotti/Levine)

  • 3. Act III Trio from Der Rosenkavalier - 1982 (Te Kanawa, Blegen, Troyanos/Levine)

  • 4. "Spargi d'amaro pianto" from Lucia di Lammermoor - 1982 (Sutherland/Bonynge)

  • 5. "Una furtiva lagrima" from L'elisir d'amore - 1981 (Pavarotti/Rescigno)

  • 6. Final scene from Eugene Onegin - 2007 (Fleming, Hvorostovsky/Gergiev)

  • 7. "Nessun dorma" from Turandot - 1987 (Domingo/Levine)

  • 8. "E lucevan le stele" from Tosca - 1985 (Domingo/Sinopoli)

  • 9. "Dove sono" from Le nozze di Figaro - 1998 (Fleming/Levine)

  • 10. "Quel guardo il cavaliere" from Don Pasquale - 1979 (Sills/Rescigno)

  • 11. "La donna è mobile" from Rigoletto - 1981 (Pavarotti/Levine)

  • 12. "O soave fanciulla" from La Bohème - 1982 (Stratas, Carreras/Levine)

  • 13. "Voi che sapete" from Le nozze di Figaro - 1985 (von Stade/Levine)

  • 14. "Cruda sorte" from L'italiana in Algeri - 1986 (Horne/Levine)

  • 15. "Allein! Weh, ganz allein" from Elektra - 1980 (Nilsson/Levine)
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