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Cheap Date Alert: Met Operas, Screened for Free


A screening of “La Cenerentola” at Lincoln Center last year. The Met will again set out some 3,000 chairs — for a screening of Ingmar Bergman’s film of “The Magic Flute,” followed by 10 nights of other performances.

Hiroyuki Ito for The New York Times

One of New York City’s great cheap-date opportunities — the Metropolitan Opera’s annual free screenings of operas on Lincoln Center Plaza — will return on Aug. 25 with Ingmar Bergman’s film of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” followed by 10 nights of Met performances.

The Met will once again set out some 3,000 folding chairs on the plaza for its annual al fresco “Summer HD Festival,” which often feels something like what you would get if you crossed a night at the opera with a drive-in movie. This year’s festival will feature several operatic highlights from last season — including Anna Netrebko as Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin,” Plácido Domingo as Verdi’s “Nabucco,” and Sonya Yoncheva and Michael Fabiano in Verdi’s “La Traviata.”

You can watch a bit of that “Traviata” here:

La Traviata: “Amami, Alfredo” Video by Metropolitan Opera

Two of last season’s most powerful new productions will be shown as well: Kaija Saariaho’s 21st-century opera “L’Amour de Loin,” in an otherworldly light-filled production by Robert Lepage, and the blockbuster production of Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde,” starring Nina Stemme and Stuart Skelton, which opened the season. (The “Tristan” performance, conducted by Simon Rattle, is to be screened over two nights, on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, because of its length.)

And once again the Met will team up with the Film Society of Lincoln Center to offer an opera-related film as a sort of prelude to the series. This year’s offering, Bergman’s “Magic Flute,” is widely considered one of the best — and most charming — filmed operas (even if hearing it sung in Swedish can take a little getting used to for those accustomed to hearing it in the original German or translated into English).

The screenings will run from Aug. 25 through Labor Day. No tickets are required, and the seats will be available on a first-come-first-served basis.

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