|Directed by||Steve Ruggi|
|Presented by||Walter Cronkite (1988–2009); Julie Andrews (1989–present), among others|
|Theme music composer||John Williams|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||41|
|Original release||November 4, 1972 – present|
Great Performances, a television series devoted to the performing arts, has been telecast on Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) public television since 1972. The show is produced by WNET in New York City (originally in conjunction with KQED San Francisco, WTTW Chicago, Maryland Public Television, South Carolina ETV and KERA-TV of Dallas/Fort Worth).
The series is the longest running performing arts anthology on television, as opposed to a program like Hallmark Hall of Fame, which presents only adaptations of plays and novels as well as made-for-TV films. Great Performances presents concerts, ballet, opera, an occasional documentary such as Toscanini: The Maestro, and plays. The series has also won many television awards, including an Emmy Award, three Peabody Awards and an Image Award, with nods from the Directors Guild of America and the Cinema Audio Society.
The program's spin-off, Great Performances: Dance In America, which began on PBS in 1976, concentrates solely on dance. The first episode "Sue's Leg: Remembering the Thirties" featured choreography by Twyla Tharp. Later episodes featured such performers as Mikhail Baryshnikov. Although it is not seen as often as previously, there have recently been new Dance in America programs, such as the Emmy-winning 2005 production of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, starring Angel Corella, Gillian Murphy and the American Ballet Theatre.
In 2007, Great Performances began telecasting performances from the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD series, a series of HD opera tapings primarily meant for movie theatres.
Repeat guest hosts include Walter Cronkite, Julie Andrews and Whoopi Goldberg. Major underwriters throughout the show's run have included The National Endowment for the Arts, The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, PBS viewers, Exxon, Martin Marietta, Texaco, Deluxe, Duracell, Ernst & Young, Chase Manhattan Bank and UBS.
Season 1 (1972–73)
- The Rimers of Eldritch (November 4, 1972)
- A Memory of Two Mondays (December 1972)
- Johann Sebastian Bach - Die hohe Messe, in h-moll BWV 232 (January 22, 1973)
- Hogan's Goat (February 12, 1973)
Season 2 (1973–74)
- The Widowing of Mrs. Holroyd (January 16, 1974)
- Enemies (January 23, 1974)
- June Moon (January 30, 1974)
- Cyrano de Bergerac (February 6, 1974)
- Antigone (February 13, 1974)
- King Lear (February 20, 1974)
- In Fashion (March 20, 1974)
- Feasting with Panthers (March 27, 1974)
- Theater in America: A Touch of the Poet (May 15, 1974)
- Monkey, Monkey, Bottle of Beer, How Many Monkeys Have We Here? (May 22, 1974)
Season 3 (1974–75)
- The Windowing of Mrs. Holroyd (May 8, 1974)
- Bernstein at Tanglewood (December 25, 1974)
- The Seagull (January 5, 1975)
- The Ceremony of Innocence (March 1, 1975)
- The Rules of the Game (April 30, 1975)
Season 4 (1975–76)
- Dance in America: Martha Graham Dance Company (April 7, 1976)
Season 5 (1976–77)
- Secret Service (January 12, 1977)
- Arthur Rubinstein at 90 (January 26, 1977)
Season 6 (1977–78)
- The Royal Family (November 9, 1977)
- Verna: USO Girl (January 25, 1978)
- Uncommon Women and Others (May 24, 1978)
Season 7 (1978–79)
- The Good Doctor (November 8, 1978)
Season 8 (1979–1980)
- The Five Forty-Eight (November 7, 1979)
- Samuel Beckett's Happy Days (June 25, 1980)
Season 9 (1980–81)
- Beverly! Her Farewell Performance (January 5, 1981)
- Great Performances at the Met: "L'Elisir D'Amore" (March 2, 1981)
- The Girls in their Summer Dresses and Other Stories (June 1, 1981)
Season 10 (1981–82)
- Norma (September 20, 1981)
- La Clemenza di Tito (October 19, 1981)
- Brideshead Revisited (January 18, 1982)
Season 11 (1982–83)
- Great Performances' 10th Anniversary Celebration (December 6, 1982)
- Ellington: The Music Lives On (March 7, 1983)
- The Innocents Abroad (May 9, 1983)
Season 12 (1983–84)
- Alice in Wonderland (October 3, 1983)
- Callas: An International Celebration (December 11, 1983)
- The Magic Flute (January 9, 1984)
- La Cenerentola (February 6, 1984)
- Choreographer's Notebook: Stravinsky Piano Ballets by Peter Martins (February 13, 1984)
Season 13 (1984–85)
- Dance in America: Baryshnikov by Tharp (October 5, 1984)
- You Can't Take It With You (November 21, 1984)
- Judy Garland: The Concert Years (March 22, 1985)
- 73rd Annual Peabody Awards, May 2014.
- 69th Annual Peabody Awards, May 2011.
- 63rd Annual Peabody Awards, May 2004.
- Comprehensive IMDb listing of awards
- PBS: Great Performances: Opera on Film
- "John Williams Composes Theme Music for Thirteen's Great Performances in Unique Collaboration" (Press release). WNET. March 16, 2009. Retrieved January 21, 2013 – via Reuters.
- "Television This Week: Of Special Interest". The New York Times. November 6, 1977. Retrieved 2016-09-23.
- Great Performances Guide at TV.Com
- Great Performances at the Internet Movie Database
- PBS: Great Performances