Metropolitan Opera 2015-16 Preview: Anna Netrebko and Dmitri Hvorostovsky Reunite for 'Il Trovatore'; 'Yonghoon Lee Takes Title Role
This season the Metropolitan Opera will bring back David McVicar's beloved production of Verdi's "Il Trovatore" with an exceptional cast that reunites Anna Netrebko and Dmitri Hvorostovsky at the Met for the first time since 2002.
"Il Trovatore" is one of the most popular operas in the canon as it contains lush melodies and some of the most popular pieces in opera including the anvil chorus and the tenor's cabaletta "Di Quella Pira." The opera is described as the final opera in the Bel Canto style as it contains a very formal structure "Cantabile-cabaletta" and requires vocal beauty, agility, and range.
However, what distinguishes the piece from the bel canto style is the dramatic qualities that Verdi adds to the music and the range it requires for the singers. Particularly in the roles of Azucena and Leonora, Verdi requires the mezzo soprano and the soprano to use their lower registers as well as their higher ranges adding both lyrical and dramatic qualities to the roles.
The Met has presented "Il Trovatore" 637 times and has seen a number of great stars perform the work including Franco Corelli and Leontyne Price in their historic Met debut in 1961 alongside Robert Merrill and Irene Dallas. Enrico Caruso also performed the title role in the early 1900s and Zinka Milanov made her Met debut in 1937 in the work as Leonora. Other notable singers to take on the work include Carlo Bergonzi, Antonietta Stella, Leonard Warren, Fiorenza Cossotto, Renata Scotto and Giulietta Simionato. Luciano Pavarotti is well known for his portrayal of the title role and headlined one of the most exciting nights in opera when he performed the work with Joan Sutherland in the role of Leonora in 1987. Placido Domingo also performed the opera various times at the Met.
David McVicar first presented his production of "Il Trovatore" in 2009. At that point, the opera had not been performed in six years due to controversial productions. On this occasion Argentine tenor Marcelo Alvarez performed the title role of Manrico alongside American Soprano Sondra Radvanovsky in the role of Leonora. Baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky performed the role of Conte Di Luna while American Mezzo soprano Dolora Zajick sang the role of Azucena.
Since then McVicar's production, which is inspired by the works of famed Spanish painter Francisco de Goya, has been performed with frequency and has showcased such singers as Patricia Racette, Stephanie Blythe, and the debut of Carmen Giannattasio.
For the 2015-2016 season Anna Netrebko will bring her acclaimed portrayal of Leonora to the Met after having won over critics in Berlin, St. Petersburg and Salzburg. The soprano added the role to her repertoire in 2013 and since then has performed it around the world. Leonora marks Netrebko's third Verdi role at the Met where she has already performed Lady Macbeth in "Macbeth" to acclaim and Gilda in "Rigoletto."
It is also another departure from the lyric roles that Met audiences have become accustomed to hearing from the soprano.
In role of Luna, Hvorostovsky returns after performing the role 14 times at the Met. The baritone is recognized as one of the leading Verdi baritones in the world and has scored raves from critics for his smooth legato praising and his breath control. Luna is considered one of his signature roles as he has performed it all around the world including London and Vienna.
As aforementioned it is the first time Hvorostovsky performs with Netrebko at the Met since 2002. The two first performed together at the theater in Prokofiev's "War and Peace" and later became frequent collaborators around the world. Most recently they sang in Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin" in Vienna and in the Red Square concert, which was transmitted live around the world.
Vitaliy Bilyy will also sing three performances of the Count alternating with Hvorostovsky.
In the title role of Manrico, Yonghoon Lee will sing his first Met Manrico after performing the role in Chicago. The tenor has steadily made a name for himself at the Met after his debut in 2010. Lee recently performed Verdi's "Don Carlo" in which he won over the audience and also filled in for an ailing Jonas Kaufmann in Bizet's "Carmen." His has also performed in Verdi's "Nabucco."
In the role of Azucena, Zajick returns to her signature role. The mezzo soprano-turned-composer and vocal coach has been winning raves for her portrayal of Azucena ever since she debuted at the Met in 1988. The singer steadily became one of the most recognized Verdi mezzos and has starred in four different productions of "Il Trovatore" at the Met.
In a later run of the work Angela Meade will take over the role of Leonora and Marcello Giordani will sing his first Met Manrico.
"Il Trovatore" will be performed 10 times this season with Marco Armiliato conducting. The Oct. 3 matinee performance will be broadcast live in HD in movie theaters around the world.
Subscribe to Latin Post!
Sign up for our free newsletter for the Latest coverage!