Opera for Nothing

If you’ve resisted going to the opera in New York—too expensive? not sure it’s your thing?—now you’ve got no excuse. On Tuesday, June 12, the Metropolitan Opera will open its season of “Met in the Parks”—a series of free performances in green spaces from Brooklyn to the Bronx—with Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème. As part of the festival, the company will also perform Charles Gounod’s Faust.

Despite his towering brilliance, the Italian composer Puccini, it has been said, preferred to write about the everyday instead of the heroic. So it seems especially fitting that La Bohème, Puccini’s late-19th-century opera about young love in 1830’s Paris, will kick everything off on Central Park’s Great Lawn under the direction of Gareth Morrell. And Gounod’s Faust, a New York City favorite, marks a welcome revival. In the late 19th century the opera was so popular that it was actually performed at the beginning of every opera season.

“Met in the Parks,” several locations, June 12 to June 23, www.metoperafamily.org.