Even as recently as few years ago we wouldn't have predicted that, on a pleasant summer's evening, the plaza at Lincoln Center is one of our favorite places to be in all of New York City. In fact, the redesign and renovation of the entire Lincoln Center complex has been a spectacular success as far as we're concerned, transforming what was a once a somewhat forbidding, definitely exclusive enclave into a great Upper West Side public space, welcoming the neighborhood not only with the usual slate of Lincoln Center's world-class high-culture programs, but also with a host of interesting and free outdoor events, movies, and festivals. Not to mention: cafe-style seating, the coolest fountain in Manhattan, AND one of the best gelato stands in town.
Lincoln Center's regularly-scheduled cultural programming is as strong as ever, with first-rate entertainment coming from the likes of the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, and the New York City Ballet, as well as such offerings as the acclaimed Warhorse at the Lincoln Center Theater, and first-run indie films and documentaries at the brand new and extremely comfortable Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center. Should we go on? There's the parabolic Illumination Lawn, NYC's most unique picnic and sunning "field", which sits on the roof of one of NYC's most elegant restaurants, Lincoln (above). The pretty little Barclay's Capital Grove provides much appreciated shade in the summer, and is a great quiet spot to enjoy a snack with a friend, or sit and read. And we love the new Alice Tully Hall, and the illuminated typography on the stairs on the plaza, and stumbling across the unexpected (which NEVER used to happen here), like David Michalek’s “hyperslow motion” movies that played on massive outdoor screen this summer (pictured below).
Anyway, the point here is that Lincoln Center seems to really have its act together these days. Witness: the Met Opera HD free Summer Festival, which begins next Saturday, August 27th, and runs through the last week of the season, ending on the night of Labor Day, Monday, September 5th. The Met's live opera transmissions are hugely popular, with hundreds of fans sitting in chairs on the main plaza, watching some of the best singers on the planet performing beloved classics on the big screen. The sound and picture clarity here are fantastic, the communal feel palpable, and, of course, you can't beat the price. The Metropolitan Opera free Summer HD Festival, running ten consecutive nights, offers both long-time opera lovers as well as opera newbies a chance to see and hear some of the Met's "greatest hits" of the past few seasons, including Anna Netrebko in Donizetti's Don Pasquale, Plácido Domingo in Verdi's Simon Boccanegra, Elīna Garanča in Bizet's Carmen, and Roberto Alagna in Verdi's Don Carlo.
The Met Opera HD Free Summer Festival Details
The Metropolitan Opera free Summer HD Festival starts this Saturday night, August 27th, at 8:00 p.m., and runs for ten consecutive through Monday, September 5th, at 7:15. The operas are shown in Lincoln Center's main plaza; seating is available on first-come, first-served basis. For more information and a look sat the complete Metropolitan Opera free Summer HD Festival line-up, please see the Lincoln Center website, here.