NEW YORK, March 13, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Verdi's brilliant final masterpiece Falstaff, in its first new Met production in 50 years -- and conducted by Met Music Director James Levine in his first Great Performances at the Met in nearly two years -- airs Sunday, April 13 at 12 noon on PBS (check local listings). (In New York, THIRTEEN will air the opera Thursday, April 10 at 9 p.m.)
Ambrogio Maestri sings the iconic basso buffo role of Sir John Falstaff, the boorish, blustery character in Shakespeare's Henry IV and The Merry Wives of Windsor. Angela Meade is Alice Ford, one of many objects of Falstaff's affection, and Stephanie Blythe is Mistress Quickly in a cast that also includes Lisette Oropesa as Nannetta, Jennifer Johnson Cano as Meg Page, Paolo Fanale in his Met debut as Fenton, and Franco Vassallo as Ford.
Levine has led an unparalleled 2,456 Met performances over the course of his 42-year Met career, including 55 performances of Falstaff, more than any other conductor in company history.
Robert Carsen made his Met debut in 1996 with a production of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin and returned to the Met in 1999 to stage Boito's Mefistofele. His production of Falstaff premiered to critical acclaim at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden in May 2012 and traveled to La Scala in January 2013.
The International Herald Tribune praised director Robert Carsen's staging, first seen at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, as a "production of eye-catching ingenuity."
Soprano Renée Fleming hosts the broadcast.
Falstaff was originally seen live in movie theaters on December 14 as part of the groundbreaking The Met: Live in HD series, which transmits live performances to more than 2,000 movie theaters and performing arts centers in 65 countries around the world.
Great Performances at the Met is a presentation of THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET, one of America's most prolific and respected public media providers.
Throughout its 40 year history on public television, Great Performances has provided viewers across the country with an unparalleled showcase of the best in all genres of the performing arts, serving as America's most prestigious and enduring broadcaster of cultural programming. Now in its fifth decade, the series has been the home to the greatest artists in the areas of drama, dance, musical theater, classical and popular music, providing many with their very first television exposure.
Corporate support for Great Performances at the Met is provided by Toll Brothers, America's luxury home builder®. Additional funding is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. This Great Performances presentation is funded by the Irene Diamond Fund, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, The Agnes Varis Trust, and public television viewers.
For the Met, Gary Halvorson directs the telecast. Jay David Saks is Music Producer, Mia Bongiovanni and Elena Park are Supervising Producers, and Louisa Briccetti and Victoria Warivonchik are Producers. Peter Gelb is Executive Producer. For Great Performances, Bill O'Donnell is Series Producer; David Horn is Executive Producer.
Visit Great Performances online at www.pbs.org/gperf for additional information on this and other Great Performances programs.
As New York's flagship public media provider and the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to over 5 million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children's programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state's unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJTV News with Mike Schneider and MetroFocus, the multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. WNET is also a leader in connecting with viewers on emerging platforms, including the THIRTEEN Explore iPad App where users can stream PBS content for free.
About the Met
Under the leadership of General Manager Peter Gelb and Music Director James Levine, the Met has a series of bold initiatives underway that are designed to broaden its audience and revitalize the company's repertory. The Met's 2013-14 season features six new productions, including Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, conducted by Valery Gergiev and directed by Deborah Warner in her Met debut; the U.S. premiere of Nico Muhly's Two Boys, conducted by David Robertson and directed by Bartlett Sher; Verdi's Falstaff, conducted by Levine and directed by Robert Carsen; Strauss's Die Fledermaus, conducted by Adam Fischer and directed by Jeremy Sams; Borodin's Prince Igor, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda and directed by Dmitri Tcherniakov in his Met debut; and Massenet's Werther, conducted by Alain Altinoglu and directed by Richard Eyre.
Building on its 82-year-old radio broadcast history—heard over the Toll Brothers-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network—the Met uses advanced media distribution platforms and state-of-the-art technology to reach audiences around the world. The Met: Live in HD, the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning series of live performance transmissions to movie theaters around the world, returns for its eighth season in 2013-14 with ten live transmissions. Met Opera on Demand, a subscription service, makes selections from the company's extensive video and audio catalog of full-length performances available to the public online in exceptional, state-of-the-art quality. Metropolitan Opera Radio on Sirius XM broadcasts live performances from the Met stage three times a week during the opera season and the Met offers free live audio streaming of performances on its website once a week during the opera season.