Verdi’s late masterpiece based on Otello, Shakespeare’s tragic drama of jealousy and deceit, airs on THIRTEEN’S Great Performances at the Met Sunday, February 21 at 12 p.m. on PBS (check local schedule; in New York, THIRTEEN will air the opera at 12:30 p.m.)
Tony Award-winning director Bartlett Sher’s acclaimed new production is led by dynamic conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin with Aleksandrs Antonenko in his first Met performance as the tormented Moor of Venice, with Sonya Yoncheva in her role debut as his innocent wife, Desdemona.
Also featuring Željko Lučić as Otello’s sinister rival, Iago, Dimitri Pittas as Cassio, and Günther Groissböck as Lodovico, this staging marks the Met debut of set designer Es Devlin, whose previous designs include the 2014 revival of Machinal on Broadway and numerous opera productions for Covent Garden, La Scala, and other leading companies.
When the production opened the Met’s current season, The New York Times noted, “[Sonya] Yoncheva is poised for a major career… Her luscious sound has just enough of an earthy tinge and texture to balance the shimmer of her singing,” adding, “What other soprano right now can sing the ‘Willow Song’ and ‘Ave Maria’ more beautifully?”
The Financial Times judged the production to be “a serious and compelling effort with a magnificence worthy of the Met… Conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin led a performance of cracking authority.”
And The Washington Post found it to be “a compelling and sensitive reading of Verdi’s score that never lost its focus on the narrative and emotional arc of the story while mining the depths of this beautiful, shifting, chiaroscuro music.” Bass-baritone Eric Owens hosts the broadcast.
Otello was originally seen live in movie theaters on October 17, 2015 as part of the groundbreaking The Met: Live in HD series, which transmits live performances to more than 2,000 movie theaters and performing arts centers in over 70 countries around the world. The Live in HD series has reached a record-breaking 18 million viewers since its inception in 2006.
Production and Funding Credits Print
Great Performances at the Met is a presentation of THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET, one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers.
Corporate support for Great Performances at the Met is provided by Toll Brothers, America’s luxury home builder®. Major funding for the Met Opera presentation is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. This Great Performances presentation is funded by the Irene Diamond Fund, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, The Agnes Varis Trust, and public television viewers.
For the Met, Gary Halvorson directs the telecast. David Frost is Music Producer. 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.
As New York’s flagship public media provider and the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than 5 million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams and MetroFocus, the multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. WNET is also a leader in connecting with viewers on emerging platforms, including the THIRTEEN Explore App where users can stream PBS content for free.
About the Met
Under the leadership of General Manager Peter Gelb and Music Director James Levine, the Met has a series of bold initiatives underway that are designed to broaden its audience and revitalize the company’s repertory. The Met’s 2015-16 season features six new productions shown Live in HD, including Verdi’s Otello, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin and directed by Bartlett Sher; Berg’s Lulu, conducted by Lothar Koenigs and directed by acclaimed visual artist William Kentridge; Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs de Perles (The Pearl Fishers), conducted by Gianandrea Noseda and directed by Penny Woolcock; Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, conducted by Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi and directed by Sir Richard Eyre; Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux, conducted by Maurizio Benini and directed by Sir David McVicar; and Strauss’s Elektra, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen and directed by Patrice Chéreau.
Building on its 85-year-old radio broadcast history—heard over the Toll Brothers-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network—the Met uses advanced media distribution platforms and state-of-the-art technology to reach audiences around the world. The Met: Live in HD, the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning series of live performance transmissions to movie theaters around the world, celebrates its tenth season in 2015-16 with ten live transmissions. Met Opera on Demand, a subscription service, makes selections from the company’s extensive video and audio catalog of full-length performances available to the public online in exceptional, state-of-the-art quality. Metropolitan Opera Radio on Sirius XM broadcasts live performances from the Met stage three times a week during the opera season and the Met offers free live audio streaming of performances on its website once a week during the opera season.