Friday, April 20, 2012

Let breezy Rossini cool your summer

Even if Richard Wagner's mythological epics aren't your cup of mead, the Metropolitan Opera may still be able to combat the looming hot-weather doldrums.

Soon after it reprises Wagner's "The Ring of the Nibelung" in movie theaters, the Met will offer six replays of recent seasons' high-definition showings. Rossini's bubbly "Le Comte Ory" might be just the thing for summer refreshment. Richard Strauss' "Der Rosenkavalier" would let you visit 18th-century Vienna's answer to Queens Road.

Admittedly, the other operas are more serious. Mozart's Don Juan will be dragged off to hell, and two Donizetti heroines will go mad. But that beats anything you're likely to see around real-life Charlotte this summer, doesn't it?

The showings are Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. at Stonecrest near Ballantyne -- only there, not Concord Mills. The schedule:

June 13: Donizetti's "Anna Bolena," starring Anna Netrebko as the doomed Anne Boleyn (photo by Ken Howard, Metropolitan Opera).

June 20: Rossini's "Le Comte Ory," a little-known comedy that's full of vocal fireworks.

June 27: Mozart's "Don Giovanni."

July 11: Offenbach's "The Tales of Hoffmann," with James Levine conducting one of his last movie-theater operas before his health troubles forced him to step down from the Met.

July 18: Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor," also featuring Netrebko.

July 25: Richard Strauss' "Der Rosenkavalier," with Renee Fleming.

But first, the Met will show Wagner's "Ring" in May. A documentary on the Met's new staging will open the series May 7, and the four-opera cycle will unfold on May 9, 14, 16 and 19 at Stonecrest. After that, everyone may need some Rossini.