The Met Opera Is Extending Its Season With Free Virtual Shows—And Viewers Can Choose Friday's Show

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The cultural institution figured out a way to entertain people at home.

The Metropolitan Opera in New York City is one of the many iconic entertainment venues that had to shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic. And while their 2019-2020 season was sadly cut short, they recently figured out a way to entertain audiences from afar, the landmark theatrical company launched a free series of operas online back in March. Here's what they have coming up this week.

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From May 18 through May 24, the Met Opera will air a different opera every night, pulling from their famous Live in HD series. Hundreds of thousands of people have been tuning in daily, but this week actually extends their season a week, giving people a chance to enjoy the opera for longer. Fans can expect to see classics from Mozart's Idomeneo and Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera to Gounod's Faust, and Massenet's Manon.

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To engage the audience even more, the cultural institution lets viewers choose what airs on Friday night. Interestingly, the choices for the last four weeks have all been non-HD shows. For example, fans recently chose Mozart's Don Giovanni from a 1978 broadcast. Another broadcast from that year will air on Tuesday this week: a performance of Wagner's Lohengrin.

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Supplemental resources are also available to viewers, such as a weekly guide by Met's Editorial Director Jay Goodwin explaining the shows' plots and history. There are also articles and podcasts about each work available. 

You find the performances each night at 7:30 pm ET on the Met's website or the Met Opera on Demand app. Each video stays up until 6:30 pm ET the following day. 

Related: In New York City, the Rules Of Performance Are Being Dramatically Rewritten

While providing this incredible virtual service to opera fans, the Met Opera has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and is asking fans to donate. "The coronavirus pandemic has had overwhelming economic implications for the Met," it says on the website. "If you're enjoying our free Nightly Opera Streams and would like to help, please consider donating to our urgent fundraising campaign."