By: Armando de la Garza

Last Saturday (and like almost all those where there is a program) I went to the opera at the National Auditorium, and although there are only two left of the 2023-2024 season, I didn’t want to stop telling you why this is a great plan for a Saturday morning in CDMX; In addition, there will always be new seasons to attend.

For those who don’t know, the National Auditorium presents on a Saturday matinee the HD Live giant screen broadcasts via satellite from New York of each of the operas of the Metropolitan Opera House (MET) season, and although (I know, I know ) It will always be better to see an art exhibition like this one live, attending the Auditorium is still charming, as it has certain benefits that you would not have being in New York.

To begin with, and I think one of the best things about Saturday, is that for each of the broadcasts (sometimes at the lunario, sometimes in the same auditorium and for the same ticket price), the teacher and music critic ( and also a good friend) Gerardo Kleinburg (@gkleinburg), puts us in context and in the mood ideal to enjoy the function through a one-hour talk with his always very clear and pleasant way of approaching the subject. Historical-biographical generalities of the author, technical details, some gossip and all the details of the opera that is going to be broadcast that morning leaves us ready so that we can appreciate even more what we are about (with 30 minutes free of inter to go to the bath or drink something) to see.

Another of the great benefits of this type of transmission, and which I really enjoy, is that the tenor or soprano, protagonists of the following opera, serve as its hosts, welcoming the transmission and a little explanation at the beginning. Furthermore, during the intermissions we can see interviews with the lead singers, the orchestra director, the set designer or the costume designer, all in open shots that allow us to know the details of the assembly and disassembly of sets, see the props and appreciate other aspects of what It happens behind the scenes, something we couldn’t access while present in the theater.

In this case, last Saturday I had to see Romeo and Julietan opera with a prologue and five acts by Charles Gounod, with a French libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré, based on the tragedy of the same name (obviously) by William Shakespeare.

The staging, lasting three hours and twenty-six minutes, was a classic example of tragedy (sometimes there are contemporary versions, very conceptual and minimalist). I especially highlight the exuberant costumes. With musical direction by Yannick Nézet-Séguin (@nezetseguin), Its protagonists, the soprano Nadine Sierra (@nadine.sierra) as Juliet and tenor Benjamin Bernheim (@benbernheimtenor) like Romeo. Once again, a standing ovation for Nadine, who I think she takes the lead and has become one of my favorite current singers (I still remember her “Addio, del passato” in the latest version of her as Violetta in The astray, also at the MET).

Of course, don’t forget to dress warmly, as it is always very cold inside the Auditorium. (at least in these transmissions). I recommend choosing seats in the preferential area (720 pesos), because given the duration of the operas, which are always long, the greater space between rows is appreciated. Of course, considering the giant screen, the transmission can also be seen very well from the Luneta (590 pesos), the first floor (370 pesos) or the second floor (120 pesos).

I really recommend that you don’t miss the latest performances, which are two jewels to close the season with a flourish: The swallow, by Puccini, on April 20, and Madama Butterfly, also by maestro Puccini, on May 11. See you there!


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