Skip to main content
KPBS arts banner graphic


SPONSORSHIP | Become a sponsor today!

The Met Opera's Two Weeks Of Black Opera Performances


  • WHEN Multiple dates from Feb 1 - Feb 7, 2021[days & times]
  • WHERE Virtual
  • AGES All ages
  • COST Free - $4.99

Soprano Jessye Norman, who passed away in 2019, was a legend in American opera — and also a recipient of a National Medal of the Arts, a Kennedy Center Honor, five Grammys and more. The Metropolitan Opera in New York is dedicating two weeks of its nightly performance stream to honoring Black performers in opera. On Saturday, catch The Met's acclaimed 1988 production of Strauss' "Ariadne auf Naxos," with Norman in the titular role of Ariadne. Black soprano Kathleen Battle is also featured in the role of Zerbinetta — this is known as one of the finest examples of her coloratura vocal style, which features trills, runs and other virtuosic fancies.

And if you're busy Saturday, you can catch Battle in Friday night's 1985 production of "le Nozze di Figaro" by Mozart, or Sunday's 1978 Puccini "Tosca" performance, featuring Black soprano Shirley Verrett alongside Luciano Pavarotti. --Julia Dixon Evans, KPBS

Celebrate Black History Month with the first of two weeks of Nightly Opera Streams showcasing some of the extraordinary African American artists who have starred on the Met stage. Catch star performances from such singers as Jessye Norman, Kathleen Battle, Leontyne Price, Eric Owens, and Lawrence Brownlee.

Each stream becomes available at 4:30PM PST and remains accessible for on-demand viewing until 3:30PM PST the following day, with the exception of the February 5 stream of Le Nozze di Figaro, which will be available until February 6 at 9AM PST. The February 6 stream of Ariadne auf Naxos will begin at the normally scheduled 4:30PM PST.

Monday, February 1
The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess
Starring Angel Blue, Golda Schultz, Latonia Moore, Denyce Graves, Frederick Ballentine, Eric Owens, Alfred Walker, and Donovan Singletary, conducted by David Robertson. Production by James Robinson. From February 1, 2020.

Tuesday, February 2
Verdi’s La Forza del Destino
Starring Leontyne Price, Isola Jones, Giuseppe Giacomini, Leo Nucci, and Bonaldo Giaiotti, conducted by James Levine. Production by John Dexter. From March 24, 1984.

Wednesday, February 3
Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites
Starring Maria Ewing, Jessye Norman, Betsy Norden, Régine Crespin, and Florence Quivar, conducted by Manuel Rosenthal. Production by John Dexter. From April 4, 1987.

Thursday, February 4
Rossini’s La Cenerentola
Starring Elina Garanča, Lawrence Brownlee, Simone Alberghini, Alessandro Corbelli, and John Relyea, conducted by Maurizio Benini. Production by Cesare Lievi. From May 9, 2009.

Friday, February 5
Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro
Starring Carol Vaness, Kathleen Battle, Frederica von Stade, Thomas Allen, and Ruggero Raimondi, conducted by James Levine. Production by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle. From December 14, 1985.

Saturday, February 6
Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos
Starring Jessye Norman, Kathleen Battle, Tatiana Troyanos, and James King, conducted by James Levine. Production by Bodo Igesz. From March 12, 1988.

Sunday, February 7
Puccini’s Tosca
Starring Shirley Verrett, Luciano Pavarotti, and Cornell MacNeil, conducted by James Conlon. Directed by Tito Gobbi. From December 19, 1978.

Dates and times of events are subject to change without notice. Always check the event organizer's website for the most updated schedule before attending. Check local COVID-19 restrictions and updates.

SPONSORSHIP | Become a sponsor today!