Javier Camarena was at his home in Zurich singing an aria from Bellini's Il Pirata when the screen for the video feed split, and he was joined by Metropolitan Opera music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin in Montreal and general manager Peter Gelb in New York, the AP reports. "Just a second," the tenor from Mexico said, raising an index finger. He had just finished the slow-moving first section. An associate director an ocean away didn’t realize he also planned to perform the cabaletta, the faster-moving second part. Restored to a full screen, Camarena continued. With the entertainment world shut down by the coronavirus pandemic, the Met staged an At-Home Gala on Saturday that would have been inconceivable to the Vanderbilts and Morgans who helped found the company in 1883.
A starry array of classical music’s biggest names sang live on Skype from their living rooms across 13 nations, including Renée Fleming in Virginia, Jonas Kaufmann in Germany, Bryn Terfel in Wales, and Roberto Alagna in France. Thirty-three live and seven prerecorded performances stretched for four hours. The Met said the live stream that started at 1pm EDT Saturday peaked at about 300,000 views in 162 countries and the total with replays was expected to reach 1 million by Sunday night. Gelb is trying to overcome a budget deficit of up to $60 million. "It was a temporary kind of panacea and it just lifted people’s spirits in a way that would never have happened," he said. "This type of program only works because of the horrible conditions that we’re in right now."
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