Though Peter Gelb, general director of the Metropolitan Opera since 2006, did not invent live opera onscreen, he certainly opened the floodgates. Now that the coronavirus has shut down opera houses worldwide, the Met charges to the rescue of fans everywhere with free Live in HD reruns on metopera.org (one per evening, available for 20 hours). Prophetically, the first week opened with Carmen, starring Elīna Garanča and Roberto Alagna. The formula so far seems to be All Warhorses, All the Time, led by the glamorous likes of Anna Netrebko, Diana Damrau, Juan Diego Flórez, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, and Quinn Kelsey.
The Vienna State Opera, renowned for the matchless depth and breadth of its active repertoire, has jumped in more boldly. Streaming on staatsoperlive.com, the company is replicating, as closely as possible, the schedule originally announced for the coming weeks. Free treats are being dispensed with a lavish hand. Among the temptations: a complete Ring pieced together from different seasons, Die Frau ohne Schatten, and—most strikingly of all—rival takes on evergreens like Le Nozze di Figaro, L’elisir d’amore, Tosca, and Falstaff—plus collectors’ items like the Chekhov adaptation Tri Sestri, by Péter Eötvös, and Edward Clug’s ballet Peer Gynt, after Ibsen’s epic mishmash (historically opera and ballet are sister arts, properly housed under the same roof). On staatsoper.tv, the Bavarian State Opera, Munich, is serving up just a goodie or two, but they are goodies, including a Trovatore starring Jonas Kaufmann and Balanchine’s prismatic three-act summation of French, American, and Russian classical dancing, his incomparable Jewels .