Thursday, February 24, 2011

Graham and Domingo Star in Met Saturday Matinee Broadcast of Iphigénie en Tauride

Susan Graham and Placido Domingo.
Photo by Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera.

St. Louis Public Radio will carry the Met Opera broadcast of Christoph Willibald von Gluck's Iphigénie en Tauride on their HD channel, KWMU-3 beginning at 12 noon. Approximate running time 2 hours, 25 minutes. Intermission at approximately 2:00 p.m.

The official Met press release states:
Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride was revived at the Metropolitan Opera beginning February 12 for a series of performances featuring three of the stars of the 2007 new production premiere: Susan Graham as Iphigénie, Plácido Domingo as Oreste, and Paul Groves as Pylade.

Patrick Summers conducts the revival of Gluck’s critically heralded but rarely staged opera, which the Met performed in only one season (1916-17) prior to the premiere of the current production in 2007. Gordon Hawkins sings Thoas and Julie Boulianne is Helen; Boulianne is making her Met debut and Hawkins his Met role debut. The production, by Stephen Wadsworth, will be transmitted live to movie theaters around the world on Saturday, February 26 as part of The Met: Live in HD series.

The title role of Iphigénie en Tauride, Gluck’s adaptation of the Euripides tragedy, is a touchstone role for Graham, who has performed it with great success at the Salzburg Festival, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera and Teatro Real de Madrid. Domingo added the role of Iphigénie’s long-lost brother Oreste to his extensive repertoire for the 2007 premiere of Wadsworth’s production and earned excellent reviews for his performance in what has traditionally been considered a baritone role. Groves reprises his Pylade, which he has sung at leading opera houses in Madrid, Paris, London, Chicago, and San Francisco. Conductor Summers, who has conducted a diverse range of works at the Met ranging from Salome to Rodelinda, also conducted the Met’s revival of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor.
In a February 14 review in the New York Times Zachary Woolfe said:
Gluck’s operas can seem bloodless in description but are vividly involving when you’re immersed in them. After the young Schubert heard Iphigénie en Tauride for the first time, he “was totally beside himself over the effects of this magnificent music,” a friend reported, “and asserted that there could be nothing more beautiful in the world.” Leaving the Met on Saturday, you didn’t find that notion so far-fetched.
The High Definition transmission of Iphigénie en Tauride will be presented at AMC Esquire 7, 6706 Clayton Road; St. Louis Mills 18; 5555 Saint Louis Mills Boulevard; AMC Chesterfield 14, 3000 Chesterfield Mall; and AMC Showplace Edwardsville 13, 6333 Center Grove Road, Edwardsville, Illinois. Click here to buy tickets.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Rachelle Durkin To Take Role of Norina in Met's Saturday Matinee Broadcast of "Don Pasquale"

St. Louis Public Radio will carry the Met Opera broadcast of Gaetano Donizetti's Don Pasquale on their HD channel, KWMU-3 beginning at 12 noon. Approximate running time 2 hours, 45 minutes. Intermission at approximately 1:32 p.m.

The New York Times reports that, "The soprano Anna Netrebko is ill and has pulled out of Saturday’s matinee performance of Don Pasquale, the Metropolitan Opera said on Thursday. Rachelle Durkin will sing the role of Norina in her place."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Winter Opera St. Louis Begins 4th Season with Verdi's "La Traviata" This Weekend

Winter Opera St. Louis begins its fourth season with Giuseppe Verdi's classic La Traviata. Experience the heart-wrenching story of the doomed Violetta, and her devoted lover, Alfredo.

Soprano Gina Galati, company Artistic Director, will sing the role of Violetta Valery. Fresh from his appearance at the Metropolitan Opera in La Fanciulla del West, Tenor Hugo Vera returns to St. Louis to portray Alfredo, Violetta's lover. Baritone Cory Schantz makes his Winter Opera St. Louis debut in the role of Giorgio Germont. Maestro Steven Jarvi of the Kansas City Symphony and New York City Opera, conducts the orchestra.

Performances take place at the St. Louis Woman's Club (4600 Lindell Blvd) this weekend: Friday, February 18th at 8pm and Sunday, February 20th at 3pm.

Tickets run $35 (General Seating) and $40 (Front Section). [Note: Front Section is currently SOLD OUT for Friday Performance.] To purchase tickets, dinner packages and more, click here. For more information on the company visit

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Met Opera Saturday Matinee Broadcast of John Adams' "Nixon in China" on February 12

St. Louis Public Radio will carry the Met Opera broadcast of John Adam's Nixon in China on their HD channel, KWMU-3 beginning at 12 noon. Approximate running time 3 hours, 40 minutes. Intermissions at approximately 1:12 p.m. and 2:35 p.m.

The Met web site says:
“All of my operas have dealt on deep psychological levels with our American mythology,” says Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Adams, whose most famous opera has its Met premiere. “The meeting of Nixon and Mao is a mythological moment in world history, particularly American history.” Acclaimed director and longtime Adams collaborator Peter Sellars makes his Met debut with this groundbreaking 1987 work, an exploration of the human truths beyond the headlines surrounding President Nixon’s historic 1972 encounter with Mao and Communist China. Baritone James Maddalena stars as Nixon, a role he created to widespread acclaim. Nixon in China, Sellars says, “shows you what opera can do to history, which is to deepen it and move into its more subtle, nuanced, and mysterious corners.”

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Dmitri Hvorostovsky Stars as Simon Boccanegra on Met Saturday Matinee Broadcast

Dmitri Hvorostovsky

St. Louis Public Radio will carry the Met Opera broadcast of Giuseppe Verdi's Simon Boccanegra on their HD channel, KWMU-3 beginning at 12 noon. Approximate running time 3 hours with intermission at approximately 2:31 p.m.

The Met web site says:
Dmitri Hvorostovsky takes on the landmark title role of Simon Boccanegra for the first time at the Met. James Levine leads the Met forces, including Barbara Frittoli, Ramón Vargas, and Ferruccio Furlanetto.
Anthony Tommasini said in a New York Times review of the January 20, 2011, performance:
On Thursday night Simon Boccanegra returned to the Met as Verdi intended it, with a baritone in the title role, and a great one: Dmitri Hvorostovsky. With his distinctive dark vocal colorings, the Siberian-born Mr. Hvorostovsky is not a classic Italianate baritone. But this role ideally suits him, and he was a magnificent Simon.

All in all, it was a great night at the Met. James Levine conducted a majestic, vibrant and insightful performance. The undervalued Italian soprano Barbara Frittoli, as Maria (known as Amelia), was in peak form; the formidable Italian bass Ferruccio Furlanetto, as Fiesco, gave a master class in Verdi singing; and there was a notable Met debut by an appealing and handsome 42-year-old Sicilian tenor, Roberto De Biasio. He replaced Ramón Vargas, who was ill, as Amelia’s lover, Gabriele Adorno. Formerly a professional flutist, Mr. De Biasio has been singing for only four years, to increasing success. There were rough patches and some unevenness in his performance, but he has a virile voice and potential.
An Unamplified Voice, in reviewing the same performance, praises the Met for presenting, "An excellent night [of] Verdi singing and playing." However, the blog's author notes:
Dmitri Hvorostovsky sang the eponymous former corsair beautifully, but I'm not convinced that Boccanegra plays to his real strengths. For all his exquisite shape of phrase, Hvorostovsky is most compelling when some dangerously strong emotion (usually rage) explodes from his usual civilized surface -- witness his Onegin, or di Luna, or Renato. Boccanegra, for all his pride and checkered past, spends most of his onstage time conciliating passions, not indulging them, and only his reminiscence of the sea near the end seems to engage Hvorostovsky in full.