Anna Netrebko stars as Norina, the irresistible and clever romantic heroine of Donizetti’s comic opera Don Pasquale, premiering in primetime on PBS on Wednesday, January 5 at 9 p.m. ET (check local listings).
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James Levine, in his first-ever performances of this opera, conducts a cast that also features Matthew Polenzani as the lovelorn Ernesto, Mariusz Kwiecien as the duplicitous Dr. Malatesta, and John Del Carlo as the title character. Renowned Austrian director Otto Schenk returns to the Met to direct the first revival of his production, which The New York Times praised as “wonderful” and “insightful” when it premiered in 2006.
Reviewing the production, the Times was unstinting in its praise for Netrebko, who “oozed seductive charm” as she “navigated bel canto hurdles in a performance that was both physically energetic and vocally rich.” Tenor Matthew Polenzani, who is making his Met role debut as Ernesto, is “one of the Met’s treasures” whose “polished performance puts him in the front ranks of a growing list of fine young tenors on the company roster” (Associated Press). Baritone Mariusz Kwiecien first played Dr. Malatesta at the Met in 2006 opposite Netrebko; the Times found him “mesmerizing in the role, his robust voice matched by his robust physique.” Bass-baritone John Del Carlo, whose many past performances at the Met include an acclaimed Dr. Bartolo in The Met: Live in HD broadcast of Il Barbiere di Siviglia, sings the title role.
Don Pasquale features sets and costumes by Rolf Langenfass and lighting design by Duane Schuler.
Great Performances at the Met: Don Pasquale is directed for television by Gary Halvorson and hosted by mezzo-soprano Susan Graham. Jay David Saks is the music producer. Great Performances at the Met: Don Pasquale is the first production airing during the 2011 season of Great Performances at the Met. The performance is sung in Italian with English surtitles.
Great Performances is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Irene Diamond Fund, Vivian Milstein, public television viewers and PBS. Corporate support for Great Performances at the Met is provided by Toll Brothers, America’s luxury home-builder®. Major funding for this telecast of Don Pasquale was provided by The Annenberg Foundation.
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.