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Mozart's Don Giovanni on THIRTEEN's Great Performances at the Met With Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi Conducting Tony Award Winner Michael Grandage's New Production, Sunday, February 26 on PBS

Mariusz Kwiecien makes his Met role debut as the infamous serial seducer with Barbara Frittoli, Ramon Vargas, Luca Pisaroni, and debuting sopranos Marina Rebeka and Mojca Erdmann

NEW YORK, Feb. 2, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi leads his first Met performances of Mozart's Don Giovanni in a new production directed by Tony Award winner Michael Grandage in his Met debut, on THIRTEEN's Great Performances at the Met Sunday, February 26 at 12 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). In New York, THIRTEEN will premiere the program Thursday, February 23 at 9 p.m., with an encore presentation Sunday, February 26 at 12:30 p.m.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110510/DC99295LOGO )

The program was originally seen live in movie theaters on October 29, 2011 as part of the groundbreaking The Met: Live in HD series, which transmits live performances to more than 1700 movie theaters and performing arts centers in 54 countries around the world.

Great Performances at the Met is a presentation of THIRTEEN for WNET, one of America's most prolific and respected public media providers. For nearly 50 years, WNET has been producing and broadcasting national and local arts programming to the New York community.

The classic tale of lust, heartbreak, and revenge stars charismatic Polish baritone Mariusz Kwiecien in his first-ever Met performances of the notorious title character. For the first time with Don Giovanni at the Met, Luisi conducts the performance from a cembalo in the orchestra pit.

Latvian soprano Marina Rebeka and German soprano Mojca Erdmann make their Met debuts as two of Giovanni's female conquests, Donna Anna and Zerlina, opposite distinguished Mozartean Barbara Frittoli as the fiery Donna Elvira. Tenor Ramon Vargas sings the role of Donna Anna's fiance, the nobleman Don Ottavio, and bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni is Giovanni's hapless manservant Leporello. Joshua Bloom sings the shepherd Masetto and Stefan Kocan is the vengeful Commendatore.

Grandage, the longtime artistic director of London's Donmar Warehouse, won a 2010 Tony Award for directing John Logan's drama Red. Last season, he directed new productions of Billy Budd at Glyndebourne and Madama Butterfly at Houston Grand Opera. His other Broadway credits include Peter Morgan's docudrama Frost/Nixon, a 2009 staging of Hamlet starring Jude Law, and an upcoming revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Evita in spring 2012.

Grandage's design team includes his longtime collaborator Christopher Oram (sets and costumes), also a recent Tony Award winner for Red; lighting designer Paule Constable, who also designed this season's Anna Bolena and Satyagraha; and choreographer Ben Wright, whose credits include numerous operas and musicals in England and Scotland. Oram and Wright make their Met debuts with this production.

Luisi, who was elevated to the position of Principal Conductor in September, led performances of Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro in the Met's 2009-10 season and has a Met repertory that includes critically acclaimed performances of Verdi's Don Carlo, Rigoletto, and Simon Boccanegra; Puccini's La Boheme, Tosca, and Turandot; Richard Strauss's Die Agyptische Helena (the 2007 new production premiere), Elektra, and Ariadne auf Naxos; Berg's Lulu; and Wagner's Das Rheingold. He is also conducting Wagner's Siegfried and Gotterdammerung, Massenet's Manon, as well as a revival of Verdi's La Traviata, all coming up on Great Performances at the Met.

Kwiecien has sung Don Giovanni at numerous international opera houses, including the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Munich State Opera; San Francisco Opera; Santa Fe Opera; and Warsaw Opera, earning praise for his accomplished vocalism and seductive interpretation. Don Giovanni is his fourth leading role in a new production at the Met, following his performances as Dr. Malatesta in Don Pasquale (2006), and Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor (2007), all seen on Great Performances at the Met, as well as Escamillo in Carmen (2009).

Rebeka sang the role of Donna Anna last season at the Deutsche Oper Berlin under the baton of Roberto Abbado. Fellow debuting artist Erdmann sang Zerlina at the 2011 Baden-Baden Festival in a production conducted by Yannick Nezet-Seguin. Frittoli last sang Donna Elvira at the Met in the 2008-09 season.

Vargas makes his Met role debut as Don Ottavio, a role he last performed in Covent Garden's 2008-09 season. Bloom made his Met debut as Masetto in the 2008-09 season. Slovakian bass Kocan will make his Met role debut as the Commendatore.

Renee Fleming hosts. Barbara Willis Sweete directs the telecast.

Great Performances is funded by Vivian Milstein, the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, and Annaliese Soros. Corporate support for Great Performances at the Met is provided by Toll Brothers, America's luxury home builder®.

Visit Great Performances online at www.pbs.org/gperf for additional information on this and other Great Performances programs.

For the Met, 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.

About WNET
New York's WNET is America's flagship public media outlet, bringing quality arts, education and public affairs programming to over 5 million viewers each week. The parent company of public television stations THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET produces such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, Need to Know, Charlie Rose, Tavis Smiley 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, Noah Comprende 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, NJ Today and the new online newsmagazine MetroFocus.

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 has made a commitment to presenting modern masterpieces alongside the classic repertory, with highly theatrical productions featuring the greatest opera stars in the world. The Met's 2011-12 season features seven new productions, including: the world premiere of The Enchanted Island, a Baroque pastiche with an original libretto by Jeremy Sams set to the music of Handel, Vivaldi, Rameau, and others; the Met premiere of Donizetti's Anna Bolena directed by David McVicar; and the final two installments of Wagner's epic Der Ring des Nibelungen, Siegfried and Gotterdammerung, directed by Robert Lepage and conducted by Maestro Levine. The first complete performances of the new Ring cycle are scheduled for April and May 2012. The season also features new productions of three repertory classics by outstanding directors—Mozart's Don Giovanni by Michael Grandage, Gounod's Faust by Des McAnuff, and Massenet's Manon by Laurent Pelly.

Building on its 81-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 sixth season in 2011-12. The series of 11 transmissions begins October 15 with Anna Bolena and ends with La Traviata on April 14. The Met recently introduced Met Player, a new subscription service that makes much of its extensive video and audio catalog of full-length performances available to the public for the first time online, and 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, as well; the Met on Rhapsody on-demand service offers audio recordings; and the Met presents free live audio streaming of performances on its website once every week during the opera season.

The Met has launched several audience development initiatives, including Open House dress rehearsals, a popular rush ticket program, Gallery Met, and an annual Holiday Series presentation for families. For more information, please visit: www.metopera.org.

SOURCE THIRTEEN/WNET New York



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