Daral Shaga retraces the parallel destinies of emigrants at La Monnaie in Belgium


11.01.2017 – 15.01.2017


‘All our journeys, all our efforts will lead us to this point: the fence, which lets no one pass without making them bleed.’ A modern tragedy, Daral Shaga retraces the parallel destinies of emigrants, those returning and those heading towards a better future. Their geographical utopia is reflected in the artistic utopia of the project, which mixes opera, circus skills, and video. Pushing themselves to their respective limits, Kris Defoort, Laurent Gaudé, winner of the Prix Goncourt, and the director Fabrice Murgia join forces to tell a story that raises questions about identity and the crossing of borders. Fabrice Murgia, himself the son of a Spanish mother and an Italian father, is one of the best-known Belgian directors of his generation. He composes powerful images with circus performers, based on a score that tacks between jazz and baroque styles. Singers, musicians, and acrobats give a voice to those whom the fences have silenced and made bleed. A gripping, epic tale.


Artistic direction PHILIPPE DE COEN

PRODUCTION Feria Musica, Opéra de Limognes
CO-PRODUCTION Silbersee, Le Sirque, Pôle National des Arts du Cirque, Le Festival des Francophonies en Limousin, Le Maillon – Théâtre de Strasbourg, le Palais des Beaux-Arts de Charleroi
CO-PRESENTATION La Monnaie / De Munt, Théâtre National


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Capriccio at La Monnaie…


An opera by Richard Strauss

03.11.2016 – 16.11.2016


‘An opera is an absurd thing. Orders are given in song; politics is discussed in a duet. One danses around a grave, and dagger thrusts are dealt out in music.’ In Capriccio, his last opera, Richard Strauss reflects on the opera genre, and more especially on the question of which actually takes priority – the music or the words. This dilemma is depicted metaphorically in this ‘Konversationsstück für Musik’: an 18th-century countess is faced with the heart-rending choice between the love of a composer and that of a poet. Strauss’s musical voice is here full of dramatic power, humour, and sentiment and reaches a peak of refinement, sometimes flirting with chamber music. In his debut at La Monnaie, the Hungarian director David Marton creates a dream-world in which theatre itself appears on stage, and the conductor Lothar Koenigs spurs our orchestra to heights of subtlety. ‘If you choose one, you lose the other! Doesn’t one always lose, when one wins?’


Set design & costumes CHRISTIAN FRIEDLÄNDER 


Mr. Graf, her brother DIETRICH HENSCHEL
Flamand, a composer EDGARAS MONTVIDAS
Olivier, a poet  LAURI VASAR
La Roche, the Theater Director KRISTINN SIGMUNDSSON


La Monnaie Symphony Orchestra
*Members of La Monnaie Chorus Academy
**Members of the International Opera Academy

PRODUCTION La Monnaie / De Munt
CO-PRODUCTION Opéra national de Lyon 2014


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This lighthearted opera within an opera attempts to answer the age old question, “What is more important – music or poetry?” The Countess Madeleine is forced to determine this answer as she chooses between two suitors: Flamand, a composer, and Olivier, a poet. The opera opens at the Countess’s birthday party. Her guests include a poet, composer, actress, dancer and director, who banter on the respective merits of the arts. The slightly aggressive arguments among the men culminate with the Count declaring that “Opera is an absurd thing.” As the two suitors attempt to woo the Countess with poems and song, the guests decide that as a gift for the Countess, La Roche must direct an opera about the events of the day. Flamand will set a text by Olivier to music, and the ending will be decided by the Countess.

The opera ends dramatically when she is forced to choose between her suitors, who are waiting in the library in the morning to learn the ending of the opera within the opera. Still undecided as to both the ending of the opera and her choice of lover she asks, “Is there any ending that isn’t trivial?”

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San Francisco Opera presents AIDA



Music by Giuseppe Verdi | Libretto by Antonio Ghislanzoni

Verdi’s grand Egyptian epic returns in a bold new production inspired by contemporary artist RETNA. This intimate love story of an Egyptian military hero, Radames, and a captured Ethiopian princess, Aida, features San Francisco Opera favorites Brian Jagde and Leah Crocetto.
Sung in Italian with English supertitles




Radames, a captain of the guard, is in love with Aida, a slave girl. Aida’s mistress, the King of Egypt’s daughter, Amneris, is also in love with the captain. Unknown to anyone in Egypt, Aida is an Ethiopian princess and the daughter of Egypt’s worst enemy, King Amonasro.12_15_15_aida_sliderv4


Ramfis, the High Priest, is on his way to inform the Egyptian King of the name of the general whom the goddess Isis has chosen to lead the Egyptians against the Ethiopians. Radames hopes to be chosen and, envisioning a glorious victory, expresses his affection for Aida. Amneris joins him. While she is questioning him, Aida enters. Noting that Radames is strongly affected by the appearance of Aida, Amneris suspects the reason for his embarrassment and is overcome with jealousy. Accompanied by his ministers, the King enters. A messenger is brought forward and confirms the Ethiopian invasion. Radames is announced as the chosen commander to lead the Egyptians against the enemy. Everyone pays homage to the young warrior and wishes for his victorious return. Aida, too, is caught up in the battle cry, and after the court leaves, berates herself for having betrayed her own people. Divided between loyalty to her father and country and her love for Radames, she asks the gods for strength. In the Temple, a solemn ceremony is held to prepare Radames for battle. He is presented with the sacred sword of Egypt._b5a8312


The Egyptian troops led by Radames have won the war. Amneris, still tormented by doubt and jealousy, resolves to question Aida and confirm her suspicions. Amneris manages to shake Aida’s composure and tricks her into revealing her love for Radames. Amneris is furious and upset by the truth. The people celebrate the return of the victorious troops and their leader Radames, who asks that the Ethiopian prisoners be brought forth. Among them, Aida recognizes her father. Hiding his true identity, Amonasro pleads for the lives of his people. The Egyptian King accedes to Radames’s wish that the prisoners be set free. Ramfis, warning of the consequences, succeeds in having Aida and her father retained as hostages. In token of Egypt’s gratitude, the King awards Radames the hand of Amneris.


To prepare for her wedding to Radames, Amneris retires to the Temple of Isis to worship with Ramfis. Outside the Temple, Aida waits for Radames. Having given up on her own happiness, she recalls her childhood in the valleys of Ethiopia. Amonasro joins her and raises her hopes for a happy life at the side of her beloved. The Ethiopian captives who were freed have banded together and once again ready themselves to attack Egypt. Hoping to exploit Aida’s love for Radames, Amonasro proposes that she ask Radames the route the Egyptian armies will take. At first Aida refuses, but Amonasro soon crushes her resistance. Amonasro hides as Radames appears, still affirming his love for Aida and hoping another victory will allow him to win her once and for all. Aida does not share his enthusiasm and instead persuades him to flee the country with her. As they start to leave, Aida asks which route the Egyptian troops will take. As Radames answers her, Amonasro reveals himself and Radames realizes he has been tricked into giving up an important military secret. Realizing they have been overheard by Ramfis and Amneris as they leave the Temple, Amonasro and Aida flee and Radames surrenders to the High Priest, ready to accept the consequences of his betrayal. Amneris, torn between love and hatred for Radames, at last resolves to save him. She urges him to defend himself, but he refuses. The priests assemble and three times allow Radames a chance to present his defense. Three times he refuses and is sentenced to die. Amneris pleads with the priests to revoke the sentence.

In the darkness of a tomb, Radames is joined by Aida who had hidden there earlier. While the priests chant their hymns, the two lovers, at last united, spend their final moments in daydreams. Outside the tomb, Amneris asks forgiveness for her rancor and prays to Isis for redemption.





An internationally recognized director of opera and theater, Francesca Zambello’s American debut took place at the Houston Grand Opera with a production of Fidelio in 1984. She debuted in Europe at Teatro la Fenice in Venice with Beatrice di Tenda in 1987 and has since staged new productions at major theaters and opera houses in Europe and the USA. Collaborating with outstanding artists and designers and promoting emerging talent, she takes a special interest in new music theater works, innovative productions, and in producing theater and opera for wider audiences.

Photo by Daniel Chavkin

Francesca Zambello has recently been awarded the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French government for her contribution to French culture and the Russian Federation’s medal for Service to Culture. Other honors for her work include three Olivier Awards from the London Society of Theaters and two Evening Standard Awards for Best Musical and Best Opera. She has also received the award for Best Company Achievement. The French Grand Prix des Critiques was awarded to her twice for her work at the Paris Opera. Other awards include Best Production in Japan, the Palme d’Or in Germany, the Golden Mask in Russia and the Helpmann Award in Australia.

zambello1Francesca Zambello most recently developed and directed the world premiere of Christopher Theofanidis’ Heart of a Soldier for the San Francisco Opera, where she served as Artistic Advisor from 2006-2011. Other recent opera projects have included the first international production of Carmen to ever be presented at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing, the world premiere of An American TragedyCyrano and Les Troyens for the Metropolitan Opera, Carmen and Don Giovanni at the Royal Opera House, Boris GodunovWar and PeaceBilly Budd and William Tell at the Paris Opera, and The Ring for the San Francisco Opera.

Recent theater projects have included Show Boat in London at the Royal Albert Hall; a new musical, Rebecca, for Vienna’s Raimund Theater, Stuttgart’s Palladium Theater (presented by Stage Entertainment), and in St. Gallen, Switzerland; Tibet Through the Red Box, a new play by David Henry Hwang for the Seattle Children’s Theatre; The Little Prince with Oscar-winning composer Rachel Portman; Napoleon in the West End; The Little Mermaid for Disney on Broadway; the musical of The Little House on the Prairie and The Master Butchers at the Guthrie Theater, and Aladdin in Disneyland. Other recent works have included a film of Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors for BBC Television, as well as a new film for the BBC, Sony and PBS of The Little Prince, and, West Side Story for the floating stage in Bregenz.


 Zambello has also served as a guest professor at Yale University and The Juilliard School. She is the Artistic & General Director of Glimmerglass in Cooperstown, and was recently named Artistic Advisor to the Washington National Opera.

An American who grew up in Europe, she speaks French, Italian, German, and Russian. She attended Moscow University in 1976 and graduated cum laude from Colgate University in 1978. She began her career as an Assistant Director to the late Jean-Pierre Ponnelle. From 1984-1991 she was the Artistic Director of the Skylight Music Theater. She has been guest professor at Harvard and Berkeley Universities.

Francesca Zambello lives in New York and London.

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Madame Butterfly at the San Francisco Opera

sanfranciscologoMadame Butterfly

Cultures clash when a trusting young woman marries an American naval officer stationed in Nagasaki. Puccini’s gut-wrenching music takes the audience on an emotionally charged journey through innocence, betrayal and sacrifice towards a heartbreaking finale.

Music by Giacomo Puccini | Libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa

Sung in Italian with English supertitles





The marriage broker Goro shows Lt. Pinkerton, USN, the house that Pinkerton has rented to occupy with his bride-to-be, the geisha Cio-Cio-San (Butterfly). Soon they are joined by the U.S. Consul at Nagasaki, Sharpless, who is surprised by the marriage contract Pinkerton is about to sign: It is valid for 999 years but can be annulled at the end of each month. Sharpless tries to make the carefree lieutenant seriously consider the step he is about to take. Pinkerton asks Sharpless to join him in a series of toasts, among them one to the real wedding and the real American wife he will surely have one day. Just then, the voice of Butterfly is heard as she and her geisha friends ascend the hill. She is the happiest girl in Japan and comes to answer the summons of love. Butterfly talks of her unhappy family and tells Sharpless that at fifteen, a geisha is already an old woman. She shows Pinkerton some of her possessions, among them the dagger with which her father had committed hara-kiri at the Mikado’s orders. Butterfly tells Pinkerton that she is willing to give up her own gods and to adopt his religion. The Imperial Commissioner and Official Registrar then perform the civil wedding ceremony. Sharpless leaves with a word of caution that he believes Butterfly is seriously in love, but Pinkerton has already turned to his new relatives, urging them to celebrate his happiness. Butterfly’s uncle, the Bonze, arrives. He has heard that Butterfly has renounced her religion, and he calls all her relatives to renounce her. Pinkerton orders them away and then tries to comfort the weeping Butterfly. Smiling through her tears, she tells him that although everyone else has rejected her, she is happy only with Pinkerton. As night falls, Pinkerton realizes how much he loves Butterfly.


Pinkerton has sailed away and three years have passed. Butterfly and her maid Suzuki are living in utter poverty in the house on the hill. Butterfly still believes that Pinkerton will return to her, as he promised, but Suzuki doubts it. Goro brings Sharpless to Butterfly to read her a letter from Pinkerton, but she insists on receiving him as an honored guest. Her hospitality interferes with his efforts to read the letter. They are joined by Goro’s client, Prince Yamadori, who hopes to marry Butterfly. She brushes aside his offer, insisting that she is already married. Yamadori leaves and Sharpless at last produces his letter, but Butterfly is so carried away by the thought that Pinkerton has written she fails to grasp the meaning of his words. Sharpless asks her what she would do if Pinkerton never came back. Become a geisha again, she answers—or better, die. Sharpless suggests she reconsider Yamadori’s proposal, at which Butterfly goes out and returns with Pinkerton’s child. She assures Sharpless that Pinkerton would never abandon such a beautiful child. Moved, Sharpless promises to inform Pinkerton of his son and leaves. Suzuki shouts at Goro, who has been saying that nobody knows who the child’s real father is. Butterfly threatens him with a dagger and drives him away. A cannon shot is heard and Butterfly takes up the telescope and recognizes Pinkerton’s ship. Sure that her faith will be rewarded, Butterfly prepares for Pinkerton’s arrival and she and Suzuki decorate the house with flowers. Butterfly, Suzuki and the child wait and watch overnight for Pinkerton’s return.

Morning comes and Butterfly carries the sleeping child off. Sharpless, Pinkerton, and an unknown American woman arrive in the garden, and Sharpless tells Suzuki that the woman is Pinkerton’s new wife. He hurries off leaving Sharpless and Kate to confront Butterfly, who enters quickly and realizes the reason for Pinkerton’s visit: the couple has come to take the child away. Butterfly instructs them to return for the child in half an hour. She takes her father’s dagger and is determined to end her life when Suzuki, in an attempt to stop Butterfly, pushes the child into the room. Butterfly hugs him close and then sends him out to play. Left alone, Butterfly performs ritual suicide. Pinkerton learns of Butterfly’s devotion for him and is struck with remorse, but he decides to continue with his American marriage.



(Naples, Italy)

2016–17 Season: Lt. B. F. Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly

Making his U.S. and San Francisco Opera debuts as Lt. B. F. Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Italian tenor Vincenzo Costanzo has had a fast rising international career. costanzo_scena-1

Vincenzo Costanzo is one of the youngest Italian tenors of the opera scene, winner of the “Oscar Della Lirica” Award (New Generation Tenor Award), in Doha (Qatar) in December 2014. Born in 1991, he began his musical studies at the age of six years old, singing in the children choir of Teatro San Carlo in Naples. At the age of 11 years old, he made his debut as a soloist. He studied piano and music theory privately then graduated at the conservatory.costanzo_scena-6
In parallel he took Degree in Computer Engineering. He began to study singing with M°Marcello Ferrara, son of the famous violinist M° Aldo Ferraresi; later studied with M° Marco Berti.
Despite his young age, Costanzo has already had the opportunity to know and work with internationally renowned conductors and directorssuch as M° Daniel Oren, M° Franco Zeffirelli at the Arena di Verona, Liliana Cavani at the Liceu in Barcelona.costanzo_scena-8

In December 2012 he made his debut in MACBETH at Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa, under the baton of M° Andrea Battistoni; in July 2013, on the occasion of the Verdi Bicentennial, he debuted in Busseto in the role of Rodolfo in LUISA MILLER under the conduction of M° Donato Renzetti and with the extraordinary collaboration for the theatrical staging of the baritone Leo Nucci.
Then he sang the same role at Teatro Comunale di Piacenza,
Teatro Comunale of Ferrara and the Teatro Dante Alighieri in Ravenna, with great success by the public and critics; in September of the same year he made his debut in the role of Alfredo Germont in LA TRAVIATA conducted by M° Daniel Oren at the Guangzhou Opera House, in a production of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden of London. After the experience in China, he takes part in setting of LA TRAVIATA at La Scala in Milan for the opening of the 2013/2014 season.costanzo_scena-11
In February 2014 he debuted the role of Pinkerton in MADAMA BUTTERFLY at Maggio Musicale Fiorentino under the baton of M° Juraj Valcuha and later took part in the production of SIMON BOCCANEGRA at the Municipal Theater in Piacenza directed by Riccardo Canessa. In the spring of 2014 he made his debut as Pinkerton at the Teatro la Fenice in Venice, with the conduction of M° Bisanti; role then also debuted at Teatro San Carlo in Naples.

Subsequently he collected new successes in the role of Alfredo (LA TRAVIATA) in Novara with M° A. Battistoni and in Astana (Kazakhstan) with M° Francesco Ciampa Ivan.
Costanzo ended 2014 by taking part in New Year concerts at Guangzhou Opera and Shanghai (China).costanzo_studio-3

Recently he performed in MADAMA BUTTERFLY with La Verdi Orchestra in Milan and with MACBETH at the Dutch Opera Theatre in Amsterdam.

His upcoming engagements include BOHÈME to Ascoli Piceno, Fano and Fermo, LA TRAVIATA to Berlino and Firenze, MADAMA BUTTERFLY Venezia/Madrid, LA RONDINE to Berlino, MACBETH to Madrid.

© Vincenzo Costanzo

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A great Cavalleria Rusticana / Pagliacci at the Zurich Opernhaus with Roberto Alagna

zurich_logoCavalleria Rusticana / Pagliacci

Short operas by Pietro Mascagni and Ruggero Leoncavallo

Cast, dates

Conductor Daniele Rustioni

Production Grischa Asagaroff

Sets and Costumes Luigi Perego

Lights Hans-Rudolf Kunz

Choir DirectorJürg Hämmerli



Santuzza Catherine Naglestad
Turiddu Roberto Alagna
Lucia Irène Friedli
Alfio Roman Burdenko
Lola Yulia Mennibaeva


Nedda Aleksandra Kurzak
Canio Roberto Alagna
Tonio Roman Burdenko
Beppe Trystan Llŷr Griffiths
Silvio Alexey Lavrov


Philharmonia Zürich
Chor, Zusatzchor und Kinderchor der Oper Zürich
Statistenverein am Opernhaus Zürich


In Italian
with German and English surtitles
Playing duration 3 hrs.
Break After the 1st part after approx. 1 hrs. 15 min.
Introduction 45 min before the performance
Dates 24 Sep 2016, 19:00

28 Sep 2016, 19:00

04 Oct 2016, 20:00

09 Oct 2016, 14:00 AMAG people’s performance

12 Oct 2016, 19:00LocationHauptbühne Opernhaus

Cavalleria Rusticana: melodrama in one act by Pietro Mascagni (1863-1945)
Libretto by Giovanni Targioni-Torzetti and Guido Menasci

Pagliacci: drama in two acts and a prologue by Ruggero Leoncavallo (1857-1919)
Libretto by the composer

These two short veristic operas, Cavalleria rusticana and Pagliacci, have always been like inseparable twins. It all began with a competition to promote young Italian composers. Pietro Mascagni, still an unsuccessful composer at the time, chose a contemporary subject matter and wrote dramatically gripping music for the story of Santuzza, who is rejected by the village community and out of jealousy reveals the affair between Turiddu and Lola to the latter’s husband Alfio. Mascagni won the competition and became famous over night. Impressed by this success, Ruggero Leoncavallo decided he would also try writing a short opera. Leoncavallo was inspired by a murder trial and the play by Catulle Mendès entitled La Femme de Tabarin: a drama of jealousy in a troupe of commedia dell’arte actors involving the beautiful Nedda, which ends with the murder of Nedda and her lover. The cast of this revival promises to give world-class performances: the star tenor Roberto Alagna can be heard both as Turiddu and as Canio; his partners are Catherine Naglestad (Santuzza) and Aleksandra Kurzak (Nedda).

GALLERIES (photos by Judith Schlosser)



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Don Giovanni at the Met


Three charismatic singers, Simon Keenlyside, Ildar Abdrazakov, and Mariusz Kwiecien, share the role of the title hero, who goes to hell in a dazzling coup de théâtre. The ensemble of great Mozartean singers includes Angela Meade, Marina Rebeka, Isabel Leonard, Matthew Polenzani, Erwin Schrott, and Paul Appleby. Fabio Luisi and Plácido Domingo conduct.

Sung In Italian   Met Titles In English, German, Italian, Spanish


World premiere: National Theater (now Estates Theater), Prague, 1787. Aided by his ingenious librettist, Lorenzo Da Ponte, Mozart approached his operatic retelling of the Don Juan myth from a point of view that is neither tragic nor entirely comic, but rather lighthearted, urbane, and ironic. We follow the title character and his earthy comic sidekick, Leporello, through a series of encounters that begins with a fatal duel, moves back and forth between the humorous and the sentimental, and ends with the protagonist being dragged down to hell.don_giovanni_1


Production Michael Grandage

Set & Costume Designer Christopher Oram

Lighting Designer Paule Constable

Choreographer Ben Wright

Revival Stage Director Louisa Muller



The city of Seville in southern Spain, where Mozart originally set his opera, was already famous in his time as a mythical world of winding streets, hot-blooded young men, and exotically beautiful women sequestered behind latticed windows. The Met’s production places the action in an unnamed Spanish city in the mid-18th century.


cast1 cast2 cast3

GALLERY (Photos from Metopera.org)


Act I

Spain, mid-18th century. Leporello, servant to the nobleman Don Giovanni, keeps watch outside the Commendatore’s home at night. Suddenly, the Commendatore’s daughter, Donna Anna, rushes out, struggling with the masked Giovanni and followed by her father. The Commendatore challenges Giovanni to a duel and is killed. Giovanni and Leporello escape. Anna asks her fiancé, Don Ottavio, to avenge her father’s death.

In the morning, Giovanni and Leporello encounter one of Giovanni’s former conquests, Donna Elvira, who is devastated by his betrayal. Leporello tells her she is neither the first nor the last woman to fall victim to Giovanni and shows her his catalogue with the name of every woman Giovanni has seduced.

Peasants celebrate the marriage of Masetto and Zerlina. Giovanni flirts with the bride, telling her she is destined for a better life. But Elvira urges Zerlina to flee her suitor. She also warns Anna, who is still unaware of the identity of her father’s murderer and has asked Giovanni for help in finding the man. Giovanni, for his part, insists that Elvira is mad, and Anna and Ottavio wonder what to believe. As Giovanni leaves, Anna suddenly recognizes his voice as that of the murderer. Devastated but determined, she once more asks Ottavio to avenge her. He wonders how to restore her peace of mind. Giovanni, who has invited the entire wedding party to his home, looks forward to an evening of drinking and dancing.

Outside Giovanni’s home, Zerlina asks Masetto to forgive her. Giovanni enters and leads them both inside. Anna, Elvira, and Ottavio appear masked and are invited in by Leporello. In the ballroom, Giovanni dances with Zerlina, then tries to drag her into the adjoining room. When she cries for help, Giovanni blames Leporello. Anna, Elvira, and Ottavio take off their masks and, along with Zerlina and Masetto, accuse Giovanni, who is momentarily surprised but manages to slip away.

Act II

Having exchanged clothes with Giovanni, Leporello takes Elvira on a nighttime walk, leaving his master free to serenade her maid. When Masetto arrives with a band of peasants to hunt down Giovanni, the disguised Don sends them off in various directions, then beats up Masetto. Zerlina finds her bruised fiancé and comforts him.

Later that night, Leporello—still believed by Elvira to be Giovanni—is surprised by Anna, Ottavio, Zerlina, and Masetto, who all denounce the supposed Don. Fearing for his life, Leporello reveals his true identity before making his escape. Ottavio proclaims that he will take revenge on Giovanni and asks the others to look after Anna. Elvira thinks about Giovanni, whom she still loves in spite of everything.

In a cemetery, Giovanni and Leporello meet the statue of the Commendatore, who warns Giovanni that by morning he will laugh no longer. Giovanni forces the terrified Leporello to invite the statue to dinner. The statue accepts.

Once again, Ottavio asks Anna to marry him, but she replies that she will not until her father’s death has been avenged.

Elvira arrives at Giovanni’s home. She makes a last desperate attempt to persuade him to change his life, but he only laughs at her. The figure of the Commendatore enters and asks Giovanni to repent. When he boldly refuses he is consumed by flames. Elvira, Anna, Ottavio, Zerlina, Masetto, and Leporello appear, contemplating their futures and the fate of an immoral man.


polenzani_operanewsMATTHEW POLENZANI

Tenor Matthew Polenzani is one of the most gifted and distinguished lyric tenors of his generation. His elegant musicianship, innate sense of style and dramatic commitment find him at virtually every leading operatic, concert and recital venue in the world.

Mr. Polenzani’s 2015/2016 season opens with his return to the Opéra National de Paris as Ottavio in Michael Haneke’s acclaimed Don Giovanni. The tenor is Werther at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich and again in Vienna, at the Vienna Staatsoper.

Photo by Dario Acosta

Photo © Dario Acosta


The Metropolitan Opera in New York has been, and continues to be his artistic home, and he returns there to star in two new productions. He will sing Nadir, in Le Pêcheurs de Perles, and sings the title role in Roberto Devereux, in a production by Sir David McVicar, with both operas being featured on the Met’s Live in HD series, broadcast to more than 2000 movie theaters worldwide. Mr Polenzani also makes his debut at the Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona singing Rodolfo in Puccini’s La Bohème. In concert, Mr Polenzani essays Die Schöne Müllerin at Northwestern University, as part of the opening season in the brand new Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall, with Alan Darling at the piano. He will reprise the work with Julius Drake, in a Liederabend in Frankfurt at Oper Frankfurt.

Title role, Werther, Lyric Opera of Chicago Photo © Dan Rest

Title role, Werther, Lyric Opera of Chicago
Photo © Dan Rest

In the 14/15 season, the tenor was Idomeneo in a new production of Mozart’s masterpiece at London’s Royal Opera. He sang Hoffmann in Les Contes d’Hoffmann, under the baton of James Levine at the Metropolitan Opera. Mr. Polenzani reprised his Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore, and added Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, to his repertory at the Bayerische Staatsoper. He also made his debut at the Opernhaus Zürich, as Alfredo in Verdi’s La Traviata. Concert appearances included Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Riccardo Muti, and Verdi’s Requiem, at Teatro alla Scala in Milan, with Riccardo Chailly conducting, and a New Year’s Eve Gala Concert in Venezia, with Maria Agresta, and Daniel Harding conducting. Mr. Polenzani also returned to the Festival Musique et Vin au Clos Vougeot, in a duo concert with Soprano Marlis Petersen, under Maurizio Benini’s baton. Pianist Julius Drake accompanied the tenor in a widely acclaimed 10 city recital tour, culminating at London’s famed Wigmore Hall.

Title role, The Tales of Hoffmann, San Francisco Opera Photo © Cory Weaver

Title role, The Tales of Hoffmann, San Francisco Opera
Photo © Cory Weaver

Among the many highlights from recent Metropolitan Opera seasons are the premieres of Bartlett Sher’s production of L’elisir d’amore, which opened the 2012 season, and Sir David McVicar’s production of Maria Stuarda (issued on DVD by Erato), Willy Decker’s production of La traviata, Julie Taymor’s legendary Die Zauberflöte (DVD available from the Metropolitan Opera),  and revivals of Rigoletto, Don Pasquale (issued on DVD by Deutsche Grammophon), Don Giovanni, Roméo et Juliette, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Così fan tutte, Falstaff, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (DVD available from Deutsche Grammophon) and L’Italiana in Algeri. To date, he has sung over 300 performances at the Met, many conducted by his musical mentor, James Levine. Across America, he has sung with Lyric Opera Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Seattle Opera and the Los Angeles Opera, among others, in repertory that includes Clemenza di Tito, Werther, Les Contes d’Hoffmann, La traviata, Roméo et Juliette, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Don Giovanni, Don Pasquale, Il barbiere di Siviglia and Die Zauberflöte.

As Leicester in Maria Stuarda, Metropolitan Opera Photo © Ken Howard

As Leicester in Maria Stuarda, Metropolitan Opera
Photo © Ken Howard

Following Matthew Polenzani’s debut as Gérald in Delibes’s Lakmé with Opéra National de Bordeaux in France in 1998, appearances in other major European theaters include productions of Don Pasquale and La Traviata at the Teatro Comunale in Florence, the Aix-en-Provence Festival (DVD available on Bel Air Classiques) and on a tour of Japan with Torino’s Teatro Regio; I Capuleti e I Montecchi at the Paris Opera and Bayerische Staatsoper; L’elisir d’amore at the Vienna Staatsoper, Bavarian Staatsoper, Teatro San Carlo and Teatro dell’Opera di Roma; Così fan tutte at Covent Garden with Sir Colin Davis and in Paris with Philippe Jordan; Lucia di Lammermoor in Paris, Vienna and Frankfurt; La Damnation de Faust at Frankfurt Opera and Berlin at the Deutsche Oper; Manon, in London, and on a tour of Japan with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Idomeneo in Torino with Gianandrea Noseda, Manon with Fabio Luisi and La traviata at La Scala; Rigoletto at the Vienna State Opera conducted by Jesus Lopez-Cobos, and at the Salzburg Festival in Don Giovanni (DVD available on EuroArts).

polenzanicdMr. Polenzani is in great demand for symphonic work for the world’s most influential conductors including Pierre Boulez, James Conlon, Sir Colin Davis, Riccardo Frizza, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Louis Langrée, James Levine, Jesús López-Cobos, Lorin Maazel, Riccardo Muti, Sir Antonio Pappano, Simon Rattle, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Leonard Slatkin, Sir Jeffrey Tate, Michael Tilson Thomas, Franz Welser-Möst and David Zinman, and with many major orchestras both in the United States and Europe, including the Berlin Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, Orchestra del Santa Cecilia, Orchestre National de France, Orchestra Giovanile “L. Cherubini” at the Salzburg Whitsun Festival and the Ensemble Orchestra de Paris at the Saint Denis Festival.

In recital, Matthew Polenzani has appeared in numerous venues across America with Julius Drake, and at Wigmore Hall (available on CD from the Wigmore Hall label). He has also appeared with noted pianist Richard Goode in a presentation of Janáček’s The Diary of One Who Vanished at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, and in recital at the Verbier Festival with pianist Roger Vignoles (commercially available on CD on VAI). Mr. Polenzani was honored to have sung on all three stages of Carnegie Hall in one season: in concert with the MET Chamber Ensemble at Zankel Hall; in solo recital with James Levine at the piano in Weill Hall; and in a Schubert Liederabend on the stage of Isaac Stern Auditorium with colleagues Renée Fleming, Anne Sofie Von Otter, and René Pape, again with James Levine as pianist.

Matthew Polenzani was the recipient of the 2004 Richard Tucker Award and Metropolitan Opera’s 2008 Beverly Sills Artist Award. An avid golfer, he makes his home in suburban New York with his wife, mezzo-soprano Rosa Maria Pascarella and their three sons.

© Matthew Polenzani

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Rossini’s epic telling of the William Tell fable returns to the Met stage after an absence of more than 80 years, in a new production by Pierre Audi. Gerald Finley sings one of his signature roles as Tell, the revolutionary on a quest for freedom. Marina Rebeka is Mathilde and Bryan Hymel is her suitor, Arnold. Fabio Luisi conducts Rossini’s final, crowning operatic achievement.

Production a gift of The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, Inc.

Additional funding from The Walter and Leonore Annenberg Endowment Fund

Co-production of the Metropolitan Opera and Dutch National Opera





cast1 cast2 cast3 cast4

GALLERY (Courtesy Metropolitan Opera)


Act I

In Bürglen, on the shore of Lake Lucerne, the townspeople are preparing to celebrate the wedding of three couples. While the fishermen Ruodi flirts with his sweetheart, Guillaume Tell muses on the political situation in his fatherland, which is suffering under the Habsburg occupation. Tell’s wife Hedwige and his son Jemmy greet the elder Melcthal, who is to bless the couples. His son Arnold cannot participate in the festivities, as he is in love with the Habsburg princess Mathilde, who is part of the cruel governor Gesler’s entourage. Arnold has saved her from an avalanche and is now torn between his budding love for Mathilde and loyalty to his fatherland. Tell notices his friend’s dilemma and tries to persuade him that fighting for his country’s freedom is the only true choice. As Gesler’s arrival is announced, Arnold is won over by Tell’s revolutionary élan and the two men swear to overthrow the tyrant. Melcthal presides over the marriage ceremony. For the villagers, this happy day is a welcome respite from their miserable existence. While Jemmy is hailed as the champion archer, Arnold slips away in search of Mathilde. The festive mood is disrupted by the entrance of Leuthold: he has killed an Austrian soldier who tried to abduct his daughter, and is now being pursued by Gesler’s troops. His only recourse is to flee to the far side of the lake, but Ruodi refuses to take him there, as a storm is brewing. But Tell, a skilled and intrepid oarsman, is willing to brave the storm and bring his compatriot to safety. Rodolphe, the captain of Gesler’s guard, looks on impotently. He presses the villagers to name Leuthold’s rescuer, threatening them with the death penalty. When Melcthal answers that there are no traitors amongst the Swiss, Rodolphe has him arrested and orders his men to raze the village.

Act II

In nature, too, various forces are at work. Austrian hunters have shot Swiss chamois on the Rütliberg; shepherds can be heard singing about the sunset. Mathilde leaves the Austrian hunting party behind: she knows that Arnold has followed her and she enjoys the solitude of dusk. She is happier here in the forest than in the sumptuous palaces. Arnold finally appears. He professes his love, but says he is prepared to give her up and to die far from his fatherland. Mathilde indicates that the feelings are mutual. By excelling in battle, he could overcome their social differences and conflicting political positions. A future together seems possible after all. The lovers must separate when Tell and Walter Furst approach, but they first agree to meet the next morning. Tell, of course, is aware that Arnold was not alone. He and Furst fear that Arnold will rejoin the enemy forces: Mathilde is, after all, a member of the rival camp. He appeals to Arnold’s patriotism. Does he want to be an accessory to Switzerland’s downfall? Tell and Furst then inform Arnold that Gesler has executed his father, and now, wracked by guilt, Arnold at once chooses the side of the Swiss. In the darkness, the three men take an oath of vengeance: independence or death. One by one, emissaries from the neighboring cantons Unterwald, Schwyz, and Uri join them. Together they plan to rise up against the overlords and avenge the murder of Arnold’s father.


Mathilde and Arnold keep their date in a chapel. But in light of the recent events, the impossibility of their love is evident. Arnold swears to avenge himself on Gesler, and Mathilde chooses seclusion, to cherish her beloved in her heart.

On the market square in Altdorf, Gesler forces the Swiss to commemorate their hundred-year occupation. The townsfolk are required to pay homage to his hat, raised up on a pole. They are ordered to dance until they collapse. Tell and his son Jemmy arrive but Tell refuses to bow to the hat. Rodolphe arrests them and recognizes Tell as Leuthold’s rescuer. Tell tries to dispatch Jemmy to his mother’s protection, so that the boy can give the signal for the uprising when the time comes. But Gesler intercedes and, incensed by Tell’s defiance, orders him to shoot an apple off Jemmy’s head with his crossbow. If he refuses, both father and son will die. Even when Tell does fall to his knees before Gesler, the governor is implacable. Jemmy speaks encouraging words to his father: he is confident of his marksmanship. And indeed, Tell shoots off the apple in a clean shot. Gesler discovers, however, a second arrow in Tell’s quiver. The archer plainly admits that it was intended for Gesler himself, should he have missed the apple and hit Jemmy. Furious, Gesler has his guards seize them both. But Mathilde rushes in and, in the name of the emperor, takes custody of the boy. Gesler intends to escort the archer himself to Küssnacht on the opposite shore of the lake, where he is to be thrown to wild animals in the dungeon. Rodolphe warns his superior of the hazardous conditions, but Gesler is not to be swayed. When their pleas for mercy go unheeded, the Swiss folk curse their oppressor. As Tell is taken away, Gesler’s army confronts the Swiss rebels.

Act IV

Beset by doubt, Arnold enters his late father’s house for the last time. There he passes out weapons, hidden by Melcthal and Tell, to his fellow freedom fighters. Now properly armed, they set out to liberate Tell.

A fierce storm erupts on the lakeshore. The Swiss womenfolk only just manage to restrain Hedwige in her determination to go after Gesler: it would mean certain death. But what, she argues, is the use of living without her husband and child? Both mother and son are overjoyed when Mathilde reunites Jemmy and Hedwige. Leuthold tells them that Tell’s shackles were unbound so he could steer the boat in the storm. They all rush to the shore and watch as Tell leaps onto a rocky outcrop. Gesler manages to quit the boat. Having removed the cache of weapons to a safe spot, Jemmy sets his family home alight as the signal for the rebellion to begin. He hands Tell his crossbow, and his father shoots the tyrant. The rebels arrive, joined by Arnold and Walter Furst: Altdorf is liberated! To his surprise, Arnold spots Mathilde. She has found a new cause at the side of the Swiss people, but their love affair is a closed book. The storm recedes and the clouds disperse, opening up a vista of the lake and the mountains. Switzerland is free. —Reprinted courtesy of Dutch National Opera


Photo by Stefano Brianti

Photo by Stefano Brianti


Marco Spotti graduated at the Conservatory Arrigo Boito in Parma, his hometown. He has won numerous international singing competitions including the Riccardo Zandonai Competition in Riva del Garda, the competition Voci Verdiane in Busseto and the Viotti-Valsesia Competition.

He debuted on stage at Teatro Regio in Parma in Un Ballo in Maschera. After this production he was invited by many Italian and European theatres: LE NOZZE DI FIGARO at the Teatro La Fenice in Venice, Il Re/AIDA at the Opera Marseille, Gremin/EUGENE ONEGIN and DON CARLO at the Stadttheater in Klagenfurt, Timur/TURANDOT at the Teatro Regio in Parma, Sarastro/DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE, Orbazzano/TANCREDI and DON CARLO at the Opera in Rom,  Massimiliano /I MASNADIERI at Teatro Comunale in Bologna under Daniele Gatti, TOSCA at the Teatro Real in Madrid, Sparafucile/RIGOLETTO in Liege, Oroe/SEMIRAMIDE and Orbazzano/TANCREDI at the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, Procida/I VESPRI SICILIANI at Teatro Massimo in Palermo, Alvise/LA GIOCONDA  at Teatro Bellini in Catania and the Opera of Athens, Colline/ LA BOHEME and ANNA BOLENA at the Teatro Filarmonico in Verona.

In Don Carlo at the Teatro dell'Opera of Rome

In Don Carlo at the Teatro dell’Opera of Rome

In 2003 Marco Spotti debuted at La Scala in Milan in the role of Arcas in IPHIGENIE EN AULIDE under Riccardo Muti. After this important debut he is regularly invited by the Scala  in many roles as Sparafucile/RIGOLETTO under James Conlon, ll Re/AIDA under Riccardo Chailly and Daniel Barenboim, Loredano/I DUE FOSCARI, Timur/TURANDOT under Valery Gergiev and the recent debut as Wurm/LUISA MILLER under Gianandrea Noseda.

As one of the most requested italian bass, he was invited as Orbazzano/TANCREDI and Commendatore/DON GIOVANNI under Zubin Mehta at Teatro Comunale Firenze, as Banquo/MACBETH and Massimiliano/I MASNADIERI al Teatro Perez Galdos di Las Palmas, Saint-Bris/LES HUGUENOTS at Teatro Real Madrid,  Sparafucile/RIGOLETTO at Fenice of Venezia under Myung-Whun Chung, in Bilbao, Festival Verdi Parma and Madrid, Colline/LA BOHEME at Opera Roma and Loredano/I DUE FOSCARI at Theatre Champs Elysees in Paris. As Ramfis/AIDA he performed at the Opera di Roma under Daniel Oren, at Arena Verona and at Palau des les artes in Valencia under Lorin Maazel and Omar Wellber, in Tel Aviv with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under Zubin Mehta.

In Enrico VIII at the OpernKoeln of  Koln

In Enrico VIII at the OpernKoeln of Koln

In the concert repertoire, he sung MESSA DA REQUIEM at the Opera Festival in Macerata and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony at the Opera di Roma under Gianluigi Gelmetti.

Since several years, he collaborates with the Festival Arena di Verona, where he appeared as Ramfis/AIDA, Alvise/LA GIOCONDA, Colline/LA BOHEME, Sparafucile/RIGOLETTO e Timur/TURANDOT.

Recently he has appeared in DON GIOVANNI at Covent Garden London, as Pimen/BORIS GODUNOV at Teatro Massimo Palermo, Colline/LA BOHEME and Timur/TURANDOT at Festival of Orange and Colline/LA BOHEME at the Scala. He gave debuts as Walther in GUILLAUME TELL at the Opera Amsterdam, as Inquisitore/DON CARLO at Teatro Regio Torino under Gianandrea Noseda and as Enrico VIII/ANNA BOLENA Oper Köln.

In addition he sung Ramfis/AIDA al Teatro alla Scala and in the Arena di Verona, Banqo/MACBETH at Maggio Musicale Fiorentino under James Conlon, Oroveso/NORMA at Teatro Massimo Palermo, Colline/LA BOHEME at Festival Puccini Torre del Lago and debuted Basilio/IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires.

In AIDA at the Palacio Euskalduna of Bilbao

In AIDA at the Palacio Euskalduna of Bilbao

Current and future projects include AIDA at the Arena di Verona, Seoul Center of Arts, Opera Bergen and with Orchestra Santa Cecilia in Rom under Antonio Pappano, Wurm/LUISA MILLER at Teatro San Carlo Napoli and at Spring Festival Budapest. In concert, he will sing Verdi MESSA DA REQUIEM with the Goteborg Symphonic Orchestra and Rossini STABAT MATER with the HR Symphony Orchestra at Rheingau Festival. In the coming season he will sing Timur/TURANDOT at the Festival Puccini Torre del Lago, AIDA at the Bayerische Staatsoper and he will debut as Walther/GUILLAUME TELL at the MET in New York.

Marco Spotti´s discography includes DVDs of MARIN FALIERO under Ottavio Dantone (Hardy Classic 2002), TOSCA under Maurizio Benini (BBC-OPUS ARTE) and Daniel Oren with Arena di Verona (DVD UNITEL CLASSICA), AIDA produced by the Scala Milan under Riccardo Chailly (UM 2007); audio CDs of LE NOZZE DI FIGARO (Mondo Musica 2001), SADKO by Rimsky-Korsakov with the Orchestra Teatro La Fenice under Isaac Karabtchevsky (Mondo Musica 2001), IL MITO DI CAINO (Bongiovanni 2003), DON GIOVANNI with the Israel Philharmonic Orchetra under Zubin Mehta (HELIKON 2011), AIDA and LA BOHEME recorded in the Arena di Verona under Daniel Oren and Lui Ja.

Information on Marco Spotti can be found on http://www.marcospotti.com

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