Metropolitan Opera Guild Announces Four Exciting Events for 2009-10 Season

As part of its annual schedule of programs, this season the Metropolitan Opera Guild will present four special, star-studded public events that both celebrate the art form and provide substantial financial support for the organization’s groundbreaking opera education programs.

On Tuesday, September 15, the Guild presents “Met Legends – James Levine” at Alice Tully Hall. The Maestro of the Met will be on stage with the Guild’s Paul Gruber, to watch rare video clips and discuss his life and incomparable career. Exclusive materials will be shown as part of a video biography of the Maestro, including rare footage of the young James Levine with his family. Also on hand will be an impressive group of artists who have played important roles in his musical life, including Judith Blegen, Raymond Gniewek, Lynn Harrell, Marilyn Horne, Cornell MacNeil, Karita Mattila, James Morris, Itzhak Perlman, Roberta Peters, Renata Scotto, Dawn Upshaw, and Dolora Zajick. Previous “Met Legend” events have included unforgettable evenings with Marilyn Horne and Teresa Stratas.

The fifth annual Opera News Awards will take place on Thursday, November 19, and will be held for the first time at Gotham Hall (1356 Broadway, at 36th Street ). Previous Opera News Award-winners Susan Graham and Thomas Hampson return for the third consecutive season to co-host the 2009 Awards, which are given at a black-tie gala dinner attended by the leading figures of opera and a host of other special guests and celebrities. This year’s five winners will be announced in early August. Last year’s honorees were sopranos Natalie Dessay and Renée Fleming, mezzo Marilyn Horne, baritone Sherrill Milnes, and composer John Adams.

On Wednesday, February 3, 2010, the Guild presents the debut of a new tribute series, with “The Met Mastersingers: Renée Fleming.” The superstar soprano will discuss her extraordinary career, and join the audience in viewing exclusive video clips at New York ’s historic Town Hall.

Finally, on Tuesday, April 20, 2010, the 75th Annual Guild Luncheon will take place in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. This year’s honoree is the beloved American mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade, who will be giving her farewell recital at Carnegie Hall in the same week. The previous luncheon’s honoree was legendary tenor Plácido Domingo.

Proceeds from these, and other, public events go to funding the Guild’s extensive educational programs.

Founded in 1935 with the goal of broadening the base of support for the Metropolitan Opera, the Metropolitan Opera Guild is an educational and outreach organization dedicated to building appreciation of the operatic art form. Through a rich offering of programs and events, the Guild supports opera today and develops audiences for tomorrow.

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