Tonight, you can watch a free performance of “La Boheme” on the Nightly Met Opera stream from the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
For the last eight weeks, the Met Opera has streamed 14 years worth of content from its archive. That means a different opera every night.
Peter Gelb, general manager of the Metropolitan Opera, says the series is a way to continue showcasing the arts during the pandemic.
“[It’s] part of this effort to keep the Met connected and to provide some cultural sustenance to people who suddenly found themselves on lockdown around the world,” he says.
The decision to make the streams free was an obvious choice to Gelb: “I felt it would strengthen the bond between the Met and its audience and its donors.”
The Met has also organized new programming available for audiences worldwide, including the Met At-Home Gala. More than 40 opera singers — from as far as Tbilisi, Georgia — performed from their homes on a free live stream watched by 750,000 people.
Gelb says the public has been receptive of the nightly stream. Since the start of the series, the Met has gained 18,000 new donors and added 120,000 to its mailing lists.
Some concerns do linger in Gelb’s mind. He says it doesn’t look like the Met will reopen in the Fall.
But he is hopeful of the institution’s staying power. “The Met has survived 137 years, which in no way guarantees its future longevity, but there's a lot of resolve … to find a way to make it work. The performing arts are so important, not only for the livelihood of the people at work at the Met, but most importantly for the world. A civilized society cannot exist without the arts.”