Daggers, swords, poison, death – the fun things in opera can be yours for the taking in August. The Met’s annual Summer HD Festival of their beautiful operas on the Plaza will be back! And, it’s free!
I love it, and when the night is clear and the moon is shining overhead it’s glorious. If you know about this series and have done it… you know what I’m talking about. If you know about it and have never done it or didn’t know about it until now – do it! Did I mention it’s FREE!
First come first served
There are over 3000 seats set up on Lincoln Center Plaza by the fountain with plenty of space to stand or bring your own chairs. And what an audience: families with and without strollers, dog lovers, fans in wheelchairs, the young, the old, new to the opera, serious opera goers and surprised tourists who just happen to be in the neighborhood. Generally speaking, a great diversified audience.
Spoiler alert…drama is not just in the operas
Just so you know, there are some diehard opera fans who are a bit aggressive. They will push, and I mean push, their way to get a seat. I remember last year a woman, with a very worried look, was saving four seats and constantly scanning the Plaza to see if her people were arriving. A few minutes before the opera was to begin a woman, let’s call her Ms. Nasty, yelled at Ms. Worried. “I’m calling the police… you can’t save that many seats!” But Ms. Nasty got her comeuppance when a nurse arrived pushing an elderly man in a wheelchair with his elderly wife at his side. Ms. Worried stopped worrying as she leaned over to say, “I’m so glad you’re here Dad.” With that, Ms. Nasty turned stone-faced and left in a huff. A round of applause ensued. It was a few minutes of drama amongst the spectators and then Otello began…talk about drama. (Otello the opera – Othello the play, as you probably know).
Maria, I just met a girl named Maria
The Met hasn’t announced the operas for this year yet. The series begins August 27th and runs for 10 nights. Last year to kick off the Festival, West Side Story was shown. As you might know, parts of the movie had been filmed on the construction site of the now Lincoln Center. Interesting fact, well not a fact but interesting; Peter Gelb, managing director of the Met Opera, spoke before hand and asked how many in the audience had never seen West Side Story. To my amazement, a quarter of the audience raised their hands, including three young women in front of me. As the movie unfolded I watched as tissue after tissue was pulled from their bags as they wiped the tears streaming down their faces. At the tragic ending … sobs! I asked them later how they liked it…. “Loved it” they said, as they laughed wiping off their running mascara.
So here is my advice – come early –bring food, wine, a book, crossword puzzle and relax. Enjoy the spectacle before, during and after the opera. Be ready to experience one of the real treats of NYC! The Metropolitan Opera outside on an August night at Lincoln Center – magical!
Important to know. Operas will be announced sometime in July. Check Met website at http://www.metopera.com 2016 Summer HD Festival. It runs from August 27th thru Labor Day Sept 5th. starting time is around 7-8 o’clock.
Good to know: The series goes on rain or shine except thunder storms. Suggest you bring extra jacket or sweater as it can get chilly. And, perhaps a seat cushion
Where to eat: All over the place. Many people, in fact, bring their own food, drinks and snacks. I, myself, am a popcorn and wine person.
Restaurant prices: In the area – varies from hotdog carts to OMG$$$$
Where is it: At Lincoln Center Plaza known as the Josie Robertson Plaza in front of the Met Opera House on the Upper West Side between West 62nd and 65th Streets and Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues. Buses and subways close by. Plenty of parking. Met website has all kinds of info on directions.
Restrooms: Here’s the tricky part. If there is an event at the David Geffen Hall (formerly Avery Fisher) the restrooms are open in the Hall. But if not there are restrooms on the Concourse level below the Met Opera house. There is an elevator to Concourse level on the outside of the David Koch Theater or an escalator in front of the David Geffen Hall. Restrooms also at the David Rubenstein Atrium on Broadway between 62nd and 63rd right across the street.
Kid Friendly: Absolutely and stay for a little while or for the whole performance. Lots of kids will be there.
*Disclaimer – I try for correct info on Kay’s Notes– but no guarantees people.