Verdi's La Traviata With Celebrated Soprano Natalie Dessay in Her Met Role Debut on THIRTEEN's Great Performances at the Met Sunday, August 26 at 12 p.m. on PBS

Matthew Polenzani as Alfredo and Dmitri Hvorostovsky as Giorgio Germont under Fabio Luisi's baton in Willy Decker's production, which will premiere Thursday, August 23 at 9 p.m. on THIRTEEN in New York

NEW YORK, July 16, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Acclaimed French soprano Natalie Dessay makes her Met role debut as Violetta, the fallen woman who sacrifices her last chance for love, in Verdi's La Traviata airing on THIRTEEN's Great Performances at the Met Sunday, August 26 at 12 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). In New York, THIRTEEN will premiere the opera on the previous Thursday, August 23 at 9 p.m. with an encore presentation Sunday, August 26 at 12:30 p.m.

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Matthew Polenzani co-stars as Alfredo Germont, a young man from a good family who is willing to risk everything for Violetta. Dmitri Hvorostovsky sings Giorgio Germont, Alfredo's father, who disapproves of Violetta's lifestyle, but is moved by her plight.

Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi leads Verdi's romantic tragedy, one of the most beloved operas of all time, in Willy Decker's highly theatrical production, a hit when it premiered at the Met in 2010.

In recent seasons, Dessay has sung the role at the Vienna State Opera, the Aix-en-Provence Festival, and the Santa Fe Opera. Her numerous Met appearances include four new production premieres: Juliette in Gounod's Romeo et Juliette (2005), the title roles in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor (2007) and La Fille du Regiment (2008), and the title role in Bellini's La Sonnambula (2009). Next season, she will make her Met role debut as Cleopatra in a new production of Handel's Giulio Cesare.

Polenzani sang Alfredo in the 2010 premiere of Decker's production. He first sang the role at the Met in the 2007-08 season. His Met repertory includes numerous Mozart roles, as well as Ernesto in Donizetti's Don Pasquale, Romeo in Romeo et Juliette, David in Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg, and Fenton in Verdi's Falstaff.

Giorgio Germont is one of six Verdi roles in Hvorostovsky's Met repertory. In February, he sang his first performances of Don Carlo in Ernani, which aired recently on Great Performances at the Met; Met audiences have also heard him as the title character in Simon Boccanegra, Rodrigo in Don Carlo, Renato in Un Ballo in Maschera, and di Luna in Il Trovatore. He has sung the elder Germont, one of his most acclaimed interpretations, more than 20 times at the Met over the past decade. Next season, he stars in a new production of Un Ballo in Maschera and a revival of Don Carlo.

In addition to La Traviata, Luisi conducts the new production premiere of Massenet's Manon (also airing this month on Great Performances at the Met) and three complete cycles of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. Earlier this season at the Met, he led the new production premieres of Wagner's Siegfried and Gotterdammerung and Mozart's Don Giovanni. He will lead next season's new production of Un Ballo in Maschera, revivals of Verdi's Aida and Berlioz's Les Troyens, and three additional Ring cycles.

In April, Associated Press observed, "Dessay provided what this brilliant production so urgently requires — the star power of a singing actress whose magnetic personality and physical agility can involve us deeply in Violetta's tragic struggle for happiness."

La Traviata was originally seen live in movie theaters on April 14 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 50 years, THIRTEEN has been making the most of the rich resources and passionate people of New York and the world, reaching millions of people with on-air and online programming that celebrates arts and culture, offers insightful commentary on the news of the day, explores the worlds of science and nature, and invites students of all ages to have fun while learning.

Soprano Deborah Voigt hosts the transmission. Gary Halvorson directs the telecast.

Great Performances is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, Irene Diamond Fund and the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation. Corporate support for Great Performances at the Met is provided by Toll Brothers, America's luxury home builder®. 

For the Met, 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.

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 and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, Need to Know, 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, 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's 2012-13 season features seven new productions, including Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore, directed by Bartlett Sher and conducted by Maurizio Benini; the Met premiere of Thomas Ades's The Tempest, directed by Robert Lepage and conducted by the composer; Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera, directed by David Alden and conducted by Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi; the Met premiere of Donizetti's Maria Stuarda, directed by David McVicar and conducted by Benini; Verdi's Rigoletto, directed by Michael Mayer in his Met debut and conducted by Michele Mariotti; Wagner's Parsifal, directed by Francois Girard in his Met debut and conducted by Daniele Gatti; and Handel's Giulio Cesare, also directed by David McVicar and conducted by Harry Bicket.

Building on its 81-year-old radio broadcast historyheard over the Toll Brothers-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Networkthe 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 seventh season in 2012-13. The Met has also introduced Met Player, a 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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