Fabio Luisi Conducts His First Met Performances of AIDA, Beginning 11/23
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by BWW News Desk
Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi will lead his first company performances of Aida, Verdi's grand opera of love and war, beginning November 23. Ukrainian soprano Liudmyla Monastyrska makes her Met debut in the title role of the Ethiopian slave, opposite Marco Berti as Radamès and Olga Borodina as Aida's formidable rival, Amneris. Later performances feature Hui He as Aida, Roberto Alagna as Radamès, and Dolora Zajick as Amneris. The role of Amonasro, Aida's father, will be shared by Alberto Mastromarino and George Gagnidze. Štefan Kocán will sing the priest Ramfis, and Hungarian bass Miklós Sebestyén will make his Met debut as the King of Egypt. The December 15 matinee performance of Aida will be transmitted worldwide as part of The Met: Live in HD series, which now reaches more than 1,900 theaters in 64 countries around the world.
With more than 1,100 Met performances since 1886, Aida is the second-most popular opera in the repertory. Luisi last conducted the opera for his debut at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, with a cast that included Monastyrska, Borodina, and Alagna. This season at the Met, Luisi also conducts a new production of Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera, a rare revival of Berlioz's Les Troyens, and three complete cycles of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. His past performances with the company include Verdi's Don Carlo, Simon Boccanegra, Rigoletto, and La Traviata; Richard Strauss's Die Ägyptische Helena, Elektra, and Ariadne auf Naxos; Puccini's Turandot, Tosca, and La Bohème; Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni; Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel; Berg's Lulu; and Massenet'sManon.
Liudmyla Monastyrska has sung Aida to acclaim at both Covent Garden and La Scala. Her repertory also includes Lady Macbeth in Verdi's Macbeth, which she has sung at Covent Garden and the Deutsche Oper Berlin; the title role in Tosca, which she sang at Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Puccini Festival in Torre del Lago, Italy; and Odabella in Verdi's Attila, which she sang at the Teatro Municipal in Santiago, Chile earlier this season and will reprise at Deutsche Oper Berlin this spring. Later this season, she sings Abigaille in Verdi's Nabucco at Covent Garden and La Scala.
Olga Borodina sang her first Met Amneris in 1998 and has since performed the role 28 times with the company, most recently in 2009. She last sang the role at Covent Garden in 2011 and will repeat it this spring at the Vienna State Opera. She made her Met debut in 1997 as Marina in Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov and has since sung 10 other roles with the company, most frequently Amneris and the title role in Bizet's Carmen. Her other Met roles have included Dalila in Saint-Saëns's Samson et Dalila, Pauline in Tchaikovsky's The Queen of Spades, Isabella in Rossini's L'Italiana in Algeri, Angelina in Rossini's La Cenerentola, Laura in La Gioconda, Eboli in Don Carlo, the Principessa de Bouillon in Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur, Marguerite in Berlioz's La Damnation de Faust, and, last season, Marfa in Mussorgsky's Khovanshchina.
Marco Berti first sang Radamès at the Met in the 2007-08 season. He made his debut as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly in 2004 and has since sung Don José in Carmen, Manrico in Il Trovatore, Calàf in Turandot, and Cavaradossi in Tosca (in a gala that opened the 2005-06 season). This season at the Met he also sings Calàf and Manrico in addition to Radamès. He has sung the role of the Egyptian general at opera houses around the world, including the Maggio Musicale in Florence, Arena di Verona, and Tel Aviv Opera. Later this season, he will sing it in Salerno, at Deutsche Oper Berlin, and at La Scala.
Alberto Mastromarino made his Met debut in 2009, singing Tonio in Pagliacci and Alfio in Cavalleria Rusticana opposite Alagna. The Italian baritone has sung Amonasro at the Arena di Verona and with Rome Opera at the Terme di Caracalla. Later this season, he will sing the role at the Teatro Massimo in Palermo.
Hui He made her Met debut as Aida in 2010. She has sung the role all over the world, including performances at Rome Opera, Bavarian State Opera, Arena di Verona, Teatro Verdi in Salerno, Palau de les Artes in Valencia, Maggio Musicale in Florence, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and, next season, La Scala. This season, she also sings the title role in Puccini's Madama Butterfly at the Copenhagen Opera, Bavarian State Opera, and Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, and the title role in Ponchielli's La Gioconda in Salerno.
Dolora Zajick made her Met debut as Azucena in Verdi's Il Trovatore in 1988 and has since sung the role 48 times, including an acclaimed series of performances earlier this season. Amneris is her most-performed Met role, with more than 75 performances since 1989; only Louise Homer and Blanche Thebom have sung more company performances of the role. Zajick's Met repertory includes Eboli in Don Carlo, Ježibaba in Dvo?ák's Rusalka, Santuzza in Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana, Marfa in Khovanshchina, Adalgisa in Bellini'sNorma, Elvira in Tobias Picker's An American Tragedy, and The Countess in The Queen of Spades. Also this month, she sings Ulrica in a new production of Un Ballo in Maschera.
Roberto Alagna made an acclaimed Met role debut as Radamès filling in for an ailing colleague on short notice in 2007. He most recently sang the role at Covent Garden in 2011. He made his Met debut as Rodolfo in La Bohème in 1996. His subsequent performances have included the title roles in Don Carlo, Massenet's Werther, and Gounod's Faust; Nemorino in Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore; the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto; Roméo in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette; Don José in Carmen; Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly;Ruggero in Puccini's La Rondine; Turiddu in Cavalleria Rusticana and Canio in Leoncavallo's Pagliacci; and Cavaradossi in Tosca.
George Gagnidze makes his role debut this season as Amonasro. In 2009, he made his Met debut in the title role of Rigoletto and sang Scarpia in the new production premiere of Tosca. Last season at the Met, he sang Scarpia, Shaklovity in Khovanshchina and the title role in Macbeth. This spring, he returns to the Met to sing the title role in a new production of Rigoletto.
Aida Live in HD and on the Radio
The December 15 performance of Aida will be transmitted live to movie theaters around the world as part of The Met: Live in HDseries. Soprano Renée Fleming will host the transmission. The Met: Live in HD is now seen in more than 1,900 theaters in 64 countries around the world.
The November 23 opening performance will be broadcast live on Metropolitan Opera Radio on SIRIUS XM Channel 74, as will the performances on November 29, December 12 and 15. The November 23 performance will also be streamed live on the Met's website, www.metopera.org.