There may be no other historical figure about whom more operas have been written than Francesca da Rimini. The 13th-century Italian aristocrat has been the subject of more than a dozen eponymous works for the opera stage. And, as WRTI’s Jim Cotter reports, most of them get her story wrong.
In the Metropolitan Opera’s revival of the rarely performed Francesca da Rimini, which airs on WRTI on March 16th and will also be transmitted live in HD at movie theaters in our region, tenor Robert Brubaker (a Lancaster, PA native) sings Malatestino, a third brother also in love with Francesca who helps plot her demise.
This powerful 2010 production of DON CARLO features a strong cast for Verdi’s epic vision of the Spanish Inquisition. Ramón Vargas sings the title role, joined by Barbara Frittoli, Anna Smirnova, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Ferruccio Furlanetto, and Eric Halfvarson. Lorin Maazel conducts.
Wagner’s final masterpiece explores the many facets of this mystical score. Jonas Kaufmann stars in the title role of the innocent who finds wisdom. His fellow Wagnerian luminaries include Katarina Dalayman as the mysterious Kundry, Peter Mattei as the ailing Amfortas, Evgeny Nikitin as the wicked Klingsor, and René Pape as the noble knight Gurnemanz. Daniele Gatti conducts. Saturday, March 2, * 12 noon to 6 pm (*note early start time).
The Metropolitan Opera's hit production of Georges Bizet's Carmen stars Anita Rachvelishvili, who made a sensational Met debut in the title role in 2010. "With her smoldering, earthy sexuality, she is ideal for the role" of the sultry gypsy (New York Times).
Nikolai Schukoff sings Don José, the soldier whose doomed love for Carmen destroys them both. Ekaterina Scherbachenko is the loyal Micaëla and Dwayne Croft sings the swaggering bullfighter Escamillo. Michele Mariotti conducts. Saturday, February 23, *12:30 to 5 pm (note early start time).
Anna Netrebko and Matthew Polenzani star in one of the greatest comic gems in opera, as the fickle Adina and her besotted Nemorino. Mariusz Kwiecien is the blustery sergeant Belcore and Erwin Schrott sings Dulcamara, the loveable quack and dispenser of the elixir. Maurizio Benini conducts. Saturday, February 9th, 1 to 4 pm
Kristine Opolais made “a spectacular Met debut” (New York Post). As Magda, she “brought creamy sound, pliant phrasing and floating high notes” to Puccini’s La Rondine. “A lovely woman and an affectingly natural actress, she has a plush voice with a throbbing richness that lends a touch of poignancy to every phrase she sings (New York Times).
Joyce DiDonato's performance in the title role of Mary, Queen of Scots, "will be pointed to as a model of singing," full of "plush richness and aching beauty," in this Met premiere production. Elza van den Heever is "a vocally burnished and emotionally tempestuous" Elizabeth (New York Times). Matthew Polenzani sings Leicester and Maurizio Benini conducts.
Saturday, January 19th, 1 to 4 pm. Gaetano Donizetti: Maria Stuarda
Giuseppe Verdi's Il Trovatore returns to the Met in a revival the New York Times calls "rousing, satisfying, truly fun." Verdi’s intense melodrama includes some of the composer’s most memorable music. Patricia Racette is in the role of Leonora, Marco Berti sings Manrico, and Alexey Markov is the Count, with star mezzo Stephanie Blythe as the deadly gypsy Azucena. Saturday, January 12, 1 to 4 pm.
A co-production of the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the San Francisco Opera Association
The Met offers a rare opportunity to hear Hector Berlioz’s vast epic, last performed at the Met in 2003. Deborah Voigt, Susan Graham, Bryan Hymel, and Dwayne Croft lead the starry cast, portraying characters from the Trojan War. Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi marshals the large-scale musical forces. Susan Graham's tones were burnished, her acting impassioned.
The New York Times calls Thomas Adès’s masterpiece “one of the most inspired, audacious and personal operas to have come along in years….and offers a superb cast, headed by the charismatic baritone Simon Keenlyside… Ariel is a dazzling creation and Audrey Luna conquers the role…Adès drew a textured, glittering and suspenseful account of his opera from the great Met orchestra.” The Financial Times lauds the performance’s “rare virtuosity… Keenlyside sang with sensitive force… [and] loomed and brooded magnetically.” The Associated Press praises Adès’s “magical score