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.

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.