A trio of bel canto stars—Juan Diego Flórez, Diana Damrau, and Joyce DiDonato—headline the Met’s first-ever production of Le Comte Ory, Rossini’s final comic masterpiece. Bartlett Sher’s hit production will air on Great Performances at the Met Sunday, July 24 at 12 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings). In New York, THIRTEEN will premiere the production on Thursday, July 21 at 8 p.m., with an encore presentation Sunday, July 24 at 12:30 p.m. as part of SundayArts.
The telecast was originally seen live in movie theaters on April 9, 2011 as part of the groundbreaking series The Met: Live in HD, which transmits live performances to more than 1500 movie theaters and performing arts centers in 46 countries around the world.
This performance made headlines the world over as—less than an hour before curtain time—tenor Flórez assisted in the delivery of his first child. He welcomed the baby boy into the world, then raced to the Met to sing the opera’s demanding title role, a scheming young count who vies with Isolier (DiDonato, in a trouser role) for the love of the lonely Countess Adèle (Damrau).
Renée Fleming, who will star in the Great Performances at the Met broadcast of Capriccio on August 14, hosts the broadcast.
All three of the opera’s stars appeared in Sher’s acclaimed Met production of Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia; Damrau and Flórez sang in the 2006 new production premiere and DiDonato and Flórez starred in a 2007 Great Performances at the Met broadcast.
Le Comte Ory’s hero is Flórez’s seventh bel canto role at the Met. He also starred in the Great Performances at the Met broadcasts of La Fille du Régiment and La Sonnambula. Damrau has performed at the Met in a varied repertory encompassing stratospheric coloratura roles, such as Mozart’s Queen of the Night, as well as bel canto heroines, including the title characters in Lucia di Lammermoor and La Fille du Régiment. DiDonato has won praise for her singing and acting at the Met as Rosina in Barbiere, as well as in the trouser roles of Stéphano in Roméo et Juliette and Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro. The cast also includes Susanne Resmark as Ragonde; Stéphane Degout as Raimbaud; and Michele Pertusi as The Tutor.
The New York Times called Le Comte Ory “one of Rossini’s wittiest and most seamless and sophisticated works” and applauded Sher’s “lively, colorful and inventive production.” Reviewing the opening of the new production, the Associated Press critic said Le Comte Ory “sparkles…with a brilliant cast of bel canto specialists… Flórez reveled in the title role’s pyrotechnical challenges, including many excursions up to high C and above…Damrau stopped the show with the coloratura fireworks in her entrance aria and proved a consistent, sweet-toned delight…DiDonato sang Isolier with luxuriant tone and dazzling agility.”
Sher’s design team for Le Comte Ory includes his frequent collaborators, Michael Yeargan (sets) and Catherine Zuber (costumes), both of whom designed Sher’s previous Met productions, Barbiere and 2009’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann. Brian MacDevitt (lighting) recently designed the Met premieres of Armida and Doctor Atomic. The three designers have earned a total of 11 Tony Awards for their work on Broadway.
Gary Halvorson directs the broadcast and Jay David Saks is music producer.
Major funding for Great Performances at the Met: Le Comte Ory was provided by Mrs. Charles B. Wrightsman. Great Performances is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, and Joseph A. Wilson. 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.