GP at The Met: Armida
About the Opera

Rossini’s Armida concludes the 2009-2010 season of THIRTEEN’s Great Performances at The Met on PBS Soprano Renée Fleming triumphs as the vengeful sorceress in the title role of Gioachino Rossini’s Armida, premiering in primetime on THIRTEEN on Thursday, August 19 at 8 pm. The Great Performances at The Met presentation also airs on PBS stations on Sunday, August 22 at 12 noon (check local listings), and will encore on THIRTEEN on Sunday, August 29 at 12:30 pm. Great Performances at The Met is a presentation of THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG – one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers.

Watch a preview:

Directed by Tony Award winner Mary Zimmerman and conducted by Riccardo Frizza, the production showcases Fleming’s vocal prowess in what The New York Times describes as a “tour de force” role for the soprano who can “combine alluring long-spun lyrical singing with dazzling, sometimes demonic, coloratura flight.” Fleming leads a cast of multiple tenors including Lawrence Brownlee as Rinaldo, a knight of the Crusade who falls into the clutches of Armida; Barry Banks and Kobie van Rensburg as Carlo and Ubaldo, two knights who attempt to rescue Rinaldo; and John Osborn as their commander Goffredo.

Armida is based on 16th-century Italian poet Torquato Tasso’s epic Gerusalemme Liberata (“Jerusalem Delivered”), a tale of the scorned seductress that has inspired more than 100 operas and ballets, including Handel’s Rinaldo and Haydn’s Armida. Rossini’s opera is particularly noted for its six tenor roles, which were shared by four singers for the opera’s 1817 premiere at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples. (In this presentation, five tenors will sing these roles.) Armida garnered popular attention when Maria Callas sang the title role in Florence in 1952.

Great Performances at the Met: Armida is directed for television by Gary Halvorson and hosted by Deborah Voigt. Jay David Saks is the audio producer. Sets and costumes are by Richard Hudson, and the lighting is by Brian MacDevitt. Graciela Daniele is the choreographer and Daniel Pelzig is the associate choreographer. Great Performances at the Met: Armida is the tenth and final production airing during the 2009-2010 season of Great Performances at the Met. The performance is sung in Italian with English surtitles.

Great Performances is funded by the Irene Diamond Fund, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, public television viewers and PBS. Major support for the production was provided by the Sybil B. Harrington Endowment Fund. Corporate support for Great Performances at The Met is provided by Toll Brothers, America’s luxury home-builder®.

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.

  • Joan O;Malley

    This was an enchanting performance, executed to perfection. Greatly enjoyed and will be well remembered.. Many thanks and Bravo to all!!

  • Joy Krejcarek

    This was outstanding and I happened upon it by chance. I was not familiar with this opera. It was brilliant.
    I was mesmerized. My hope is that I could see a live performance some day. Being a singer myself and having studied many soprano roles years ago made me appreciate it even more.
    Many thanks!

  • Deanne Molinari

    Absolutely stunning performance! Had to sit and actually watch the show instead of having TV on as background noise. Voices spectacular. Cannot believe how wonderful scenery, costumes and lighting were. Not enough vocabulary to give the accolades this deserves!!!!!

  • Arlys LaFehr

    I hope this will come out on DVD because I would like to have it. Beautiful singing and wonderful scenery. The Santa Fe Opera could take a lesson in how to have minimalism without being dreary.

  • Katherine Schroeder

    I so completely agree with the other commenters. This was beyond brilliant. I, too, just happened upon it and could not take my eyes off the performance. Brownlee was astonishing; a perfect match for Fleming’s virtuosity. The ballet was total perfection. Costumes, sets…words can’t express how utterly enchanting they were. Bravo, brava!!

  • Gitta Kissmann

    I also happened by chance to turn on the channel and luckily encountered this fantastic performance. Unfortunately, I started in the middle and hopefully will be able to watch the repeat whole performance on August 29th.
    I am lacking the words to describe my feelings and joy to be able to experience part of this mesmerizing performance.- I left all my work for later and was glued to the TV and in another world. Thank you for bringing this wonderful experience on screen.

  • Becca Knox

    Happened upon this and encouraged my 6-year-old daughter to come see what opera singing sounded like, as she is often pretending to do it without really having heard opera! She and my two 17-year-old nieces who are on vacation with us all plunked down and watched the entire thing, enchanted! The furies are wonderful and Renee Fleming was out of this world. Thank you so much for this broadcast!

  • BLANCHE EDELMAN

    I also just came upon it by chance. Was exhausted but was so captured by the pure creativity of it, I watched it to the end. Am taping it for my 8 year old grandchild, who loves the opera. Cannot wait to share it with him.

  • J. Holmes

    I’m trying to find a way to actually see the Operas when they begin & to know what the season will have on an actual date that they will be airing. I’ve had my email listed for letting me know several times, but somehow it gets dropped off. There is nothing to tell me a day when I can plan on it, cause the dates sometimes are not what is really the airing date. I accidentally come across the GP at the Met when I scroll through channels to find I missed another one starting. This has happened countless times this last year. I like to tape them for family that misses them too, so this isn’t helping me to not have a schedule of them listed. You just have to hunt and guess most of the time. Only after I think it’s going to be airing do I find others, but not the one I’m looking for. Rossini’s “Barber of Seville” is one I’ve been trying to catch for several months now. It was listed with the showing of “Armida”, but not sure if that was a listing of maybe the music or an actor/opera singer. Do you print out a season of the showing ahead of time, so one can actually plan on it? The few times I’ve caught the airing of one I was looking for was in the wee hours of the morning, and then there was 2 hrs of technical difficulty on the Networks side of things. That taping was a throw away you can guess. It has not replayed.
    Getting very frustrated with the NET way of scheduling.
    Help please!

  • Paul Rogers

    Ms. Fleming was stunning, of course, as expected (she just has it that way). I cannot say of anything I’ve heard her perform, that I did not thoroughly enjoy it, this role included. But I have to say, as this is my first exposure to Lawrence Brownlee, that I was more impressed by him, perhaps only because he is so new to me. For me, he is now among the world’s most respectable tenors (and I have less than a handful of favorites). Truth be told, he and Fleming were excellently matched for this performance. I hope to see more of his excellence. And I also have to acknowledge: it is my first time hearing such a plethora of “tenor” excellence in a single production… most enjoyable.

  • CAROL FOX

    MAGNIFICENT PERFORMANCES OF VERY BEAUTIFUL MUSIC. FLEMING IS INCOMPARABLE, AND YOUNG BROWNLEE WAS MOST IMPRESSIVE.

    PLEASE IDENTIFY THE LEAD MALE DANCER IN THE ENCHANTING BALLET SEQUENCE. I COULD NOT FIND HIS NAME IN ANY CREDITS. A GREAT TALENT1

    I WOULD LOVE TO HAVE A DVD OF THIS FINE PERFORMANCE. PLEASE LET MEMBERS KNOW IF AND WHEN IT MAY BE AVAILABLE.

    CAROL FOX

  • Pat Erlanger

    I too agree with the other viewers that this was a superb production, performance of a beautiful Opera. How lucky we are that Thirteen chose to broadcast it in prime time and on Sunday Arts. Renee Fleming was amazing. Lawrence Brownlee has a beautiful voice and great skill. Thank you Thirteen and Great Performances and The Metropolitan Opera.

  • Nora Klein

    I did not recognize Fleming at first but thought to myself “well, here is the next Rene Fleming!” Funny. I do wish you would give the credits more gravitas and not rush them past so fast; it is really disrespectful to the artists who work so hard, to have their names fly by at the speed of light.

  • Bob Buren

    Would love to see the entire opera. Reminded me somewhat of Richard Wagner’s Tannhauser.

  • J. Loux

    The dancer is Aaron Loux. He now dances for the Mark Morris Dance Group and you can see his bio on their web site.

  • V. Landory

    What a wonderful performance!!! Renée Flemming was sensational, even though she’s not really a Rossini singer, and so was Lawrence Brownlee (has he had dance training?). Not only their singing, also their acting was brilliant. The rest of the cast were also most enjoyable.
    But I particularly commend the production itself:
    The direction, the choreography, the costumes and décors were absolutely outstanding and wonderfully complementary. An opera that would otherwise be somewhat static was made lively and filled with movement.
    The way the chorus and even the leading demon (who was he?) were incorporated into the imaginative, charming and wonderfully and aptly humourous choreography was absolutely brilliant. I’m surprised so few people commented on this.
    I’m so happy for this opportunity (Sept.12) to have seen it! Kudos to all!!!

  • EYB Chassagne

    September 12, 2010-California
    Thank you V. Landory for your comments, I also feel wowed by this fantastic performance. I have followed Renée Flemming for many years, since my daughter took her Bachelor and Master degrees in Music performance, opera. I have also felt that she is a beautiful soul and human being. This must have taken her a lot of work and it was splendid. I also was very taken by Lawrence Brownlee with the depth of his voice and magnificent rendition on so many tough scores. I kept applauding as I listened. The whole cast touched me deeply, so much talents everywhere. I really had one of the most thrilling afternoon with PBS. Music, singing, acting, dancing, choreography, costumes all exquisite. Bravo, bravo, bravo, to each and everyone for all the hours of work, and God bless you all.
    P.S. When is this showing again so I can pass it on to my daughter who lives in Connecticut.

  • hot shot rodgers

    i love the show i saw lsat month i want to come see a live show i need some information to go by my address is 11 west carrington ct. portsmouth va. 23701 thank you hope to be there soon.

  • GARY B SMITH

    Bravo Lawrence Brownlee… this great talent is destined for even greater successes. Can’t wait to see him in La Boheme, as Rodolfo, of course!

  • John M Howe

    Das Rheingold, yesterday, live in HD and now today, Armida on PBS A wonderfull weekend for opera. Both performances were outstanding.

  • ally

    Any information about next season of GP at the Met? There were no opera performances on PBS at all throughout November, and I don’t see anything in December either. It’d be nice to know about those in advance to tell people. Meanwhile in Europe people get opera on BBC regularly…

  • David Crawford

    can i get a dvd of this with the interviews etc?

  • mindyg

    Did you ever find out if there is a dvd for this performance?
    I missed it when it wasa televised.

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