NEW YORK, Aug. 16, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Roberto Devereux comes to THIRTEEN'S Great Performances at the Met Sunday, August 28 at 12 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). (In New York, THIRTEEN will air the opera on Sunday, September 4 at 12:30 p.m.)
The final opera in Donizetti's "Tudor trilogy" focuses on the older Queen Elizabeth I, who is forced to sign the death warrant of the nobleman she loves. Sir David McVicar, who directed the Met premieres of Anna Bolena and Maria Stuarda, returned to stage the final installment in the series. Acclaimed bel canto soprano Sondra Radvanovsky sings Elizabeth I. (During the same season, she took on the title roles in Anna Bolena and Maria Stuarda, a famous feat performed by Beverly Sills at New York City Opera in the 1970s and not repeated in New York since.)
Roberto Devereux also stars Matthew Polenzani as the title character; Elīna Garanča as Sara, the Duchess of Nottingham and the queen's secret rival; and Mariusz Kwiecien as the Duke of Nottingham. Maurizio Benini conducts the first-ever Met performances of this work.
First performed two years after Maria Stuarda and Lucia di Lammermoor, Roberto Devereux shows Donizetti at the height of his musical and dramatic powers. The opera's story was inspired by a historical incident—the execution for treason of Robert Devereux, the favorite of Queen Elizabeth I—but, as in many works of the time, history is used merely as a springboard from which the operatic imagination can soar. Roberto Devereux mirrors the successful structure of the earlier Lucia di Lammermoor: a first act that lays out the issues at stake and introduces the musical language; a second act fashioned as a single dramatic arc; and three intense shorter scenes for the final act.
Reviewing the present production, The New York Times observed, "The applause and bravos for the soprano Sondra Radvanovsky were so frenzied... The audience members knew, it seemed, that they had just witnessed an emotionally vulnerable and vocally daring performance, a milestone in the career of an essential artist... Ms. Radvanovsky sings with searing power, flinty attack and incisive coloratura passagework. The company has assembled an ideal cast and an insightful conductor, Maurizio Benini. The superb tenor Matthew Polenzani excels in the title role, his lyrical elegance matched by youthful ardor… The baritone Mariusz Kwiecien, singing with virile sound and soaring lyricism, captures the confusions of the Duke, shattered by personal betrayal. And it is true luxury casting to have the great mezzo-soprano Elīna Garanča bring her sumptuous voice and charisma to the role of the retiring, love-struck Sara…"
Gaetano Donizetti (1797–1848) composed about 75 operas plus orchestral and chamber music in a career abbreviated by mental illness and premature death. Most of his works disappeared from the public eye after his death, but critical and popular opinion of the rest of his huge opus has grown considerably over the past 50 years. The Neapolitan librettist Salvadore Cammarano (1801–1852) worked with Donizetti on a number of operas, including Lucia di Lammermoor, and also collaborated with Verdi.
Donizetti's gift for melody and understanding of the human voice are on full display in Roberto Devereux, but the score goes beyond that, revealing the dramatic possibilities inherent in the best of the bel canto tradition. Just one remarkable example is the trio finale to Act II for Devereux, Nottingham, and Elizabeth, which contains a range of emotions and psychological states in one cohesive musical structure: the anxious lover, the betrayed husband and friend, and the scorned woman are all given full expression. The opera's finale belongs entirely to Elizabeth, in a variation of the classic mad scene as an internal journey and spiritual crisis. A nod to local color is found in the overture, which (anachronistically) quotes "God Save the Queen."
Soprano Deborah Voigt hosts the broadcast.
Roberto Devereux was originally seen live in movie theaters on April 16 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 over 70 countries around the world. The Live in HD series has reached a record-breaking 20 million viewers since its inception in 2006.
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.
Corporate support for Great Performances at the Met is provided by Toll Brothers, America's luxury home builder®. Major funding for the Met Opera presentation 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.
WNET is America's flagship PBS station and parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21. WNET also operates NJTV, the statewide public media network in New Jersey. Through its broadcast channels, three cable services (KidsThirteen, Create and World) and online streaming sites, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than five 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. WNET's groundbreaking series for children and young adults include Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase as well as Mission US, the award-winning interactive history game. WNET highlights the tri-state's unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams and MetroFocus, the daily multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. In addition, WNET produces online-only programming including the award-winning series about gender identity, First Person, and an intergenerational look at tech and pop culture, The Chatterbox with Kevin and Grandma Lill. In 2015, THIRTEEN launched Passport, an online streaming service which allows members to see new and archival THIRTEEN and PBS programming anytime, anywhere: www.thirteen.org/passport.
About the Met
THE METROPOLITAN OPERA is America's leading performing arts organization and a vibrant home for the world's most creative and talented artists, including singers, conductors, composers, orchestra musicians, stage directors, designers, visual artists, choreographers, and dancers. The company presents more than 200 performances each season of a wide variety of operas, ranging from early masterpieces to contemporary works. In recent years, the Met has launched many initiatives designed to make opera more accessible, most prominently the Live in HD series of cinema transmissions, which dramatically expands the Met audience by allowing select performances to be seen in more than 2,000 theaters in 70 countries around the world.