“All of my career,” says Peter Gelb, general manager of the Metropolitan Opera since 2006, “my goal has been to connect performing artists to as broad an audience as possible.” From Horowitz in London: A Royal Concert, in 1982, to Handel’s Agrippina, broadcast live in HD from the Met on February 29, 2020, video has been Gelb’s most powerful means to that end. His next act, tailored to the pandemic, is the 12-part pay-per-view series “Met Stars Live in Concert.” The series, which opened July 18 with Jonas Kaufmann in recital at Bavaria’s picture-postcard-perfect Polling Abbey, continues through December 19.
No, this is not a reboot of the makeshift, partly prerecorded At-Home Gala that Gelb masterminded for the Met this past April, with artists on lockdown Zooming in from the four corners of the earth, at the mercy of often iffy transmission. “While there’s always the chance of a momentary glitch,” Gelb said to me, “the satellite technology on which we’re relying in the new series will deliver very high quality audio and picture resolution. The programs are being produced with multiple cameras and top-notch audio equipment.”