Zandonai's Masterpiece Francesca da Rimini In Its First Met Revival in 27 Years on THIRTEEN's Great Performances at the Met Sunday, August 18 at 12 noon on PBS

Eva-Maria Westbroek and Marcello Giordani star in the classic tale of doomed love, based on an episode from Dante's Inferno

NEW YORK, July 24, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Riccardo Zandonai's masterpiece Francesca da Rimini, staged by the Met for the first time in more than a quarter of a century, airs on Great Performances at the Met Sunday, August 18 at 12 noon on PBS (check local listings). (In New York, THIRTEEN will air the opera at 12:30 p.m.)

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Piero Faggioni's production, which sets the action in Renaissance Italy, stars Dutch soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek and Italian tenor Marcello Giordani as Francesca and Paolo, the star-crossed lovers whose doomed romance was immortalized in an episode in Dante's Inferno

Marco Armiliato conducts a cast that also includes the American baritone Mark Delavan as Gianciotto, Francesca's brutal husband, and American tenor Robert Brubaker as the wicked Malatestino.

Francesca da Rimini had its Met premiere in 1916 with Frances Alda in the title role, Giovanni Martinelli as Paolo, and Pasquale Amato as Gianciotto. The opera quickly gained a reputation among connoisseurs for its unusual blend of musical styles, joining the melodies of Italian verismo with the colorful harmonic influences of Debussy and the orchestral effects of Richard Strauss. The opera returned to the Met's repertory in 1984, when Faggioni's production premiered with Renata Scotto, Placido Domingo, and Cornell MacNeil in the central roles. The production was revived once, in 1986, and has not been seen at the Met until this past season.

American soprano Sondra Radvanovsky hosts the broadcast and conducts backstage interviews with the stars.

Francesca da Rimini  was originally seen live in movie theaters on March 16 as part of the groundbreaking The Met: Live in HD series, which transmits live performances to more than 1900 movie theaters and performing arts centers in 64 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. 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 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.

About WNET
In 2013, WNET is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of THIRTEEN, New York's flagship public media provider. As 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, 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 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 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 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 seventh season in 2012-13. Met Player, a subscription service 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.

Website: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/GreatPerformances
Twitter: @GPerfPBS

SOURCE THIRTEEN/WNET New York



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