This week, the Metropolitan Opera beams two operas to movie theaters across the U.S. Both are particularly well-suited for children (and parents) in need of a break from holiday commerce.
On Dec. 21, it's the Julie Taymor production of Mozart's The Magic Flute in an abridged 100-minute version. James Levine conducts, with Ying Huang, Erika Miklósa, Matthew Polenzani and René Pape. Papageno is sung by Nathan Gunn, whose name, it was long-ago decreed, must be accompanied by the adjective adorable.
The next evening, it's Hansel and Gretel, in the Richard Jones production led by Vladimir Jurowski in 2008 with Christine Schäfer, Alice Coote, Rosalind Plowright and Alan Held. The encore broadcast captures Philip Langridge as the flour-dredged witch. It's a fitting way, I think, to remember the English tenor, who died last year.