Renée Fleming reprises one of her most popular interpretations: the title role in Handel’s Rodelinda, under the baton of Baroque specialist Harry Bicket in the revival of Stephen Wadsworth’s acclaimed production, on THIRTEEN’s Great Performances at the Met Sunday, April 22 at 12 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). In New York, THIRTEEN will premiere the program Thursday, April 19 at 8:30 p.m. with an encore presentation Sunday, April 22 at 12:30 p.m.
Rodelinda also stars Andreas Scholl as the exiled king Bertarido and Stephanie Blythe as his sister Eduige. English countertenor Iestyn Davies makes his Met debut as Bertarido’s faithful friend Unulfo, and, in Met role debuts, Joseph Kaiser sings the usurper Grimoaldo and Shenyang the corrupt royal advisor Garibaldo.
The program was originally seen live in movie theaters on December 3 as part of the groundbreaking The Met: Live in HD series, which transmits live performances to more than 1700 movie theaters and performing arts centers in 54 countries around the world.
Great Performances at the Met is a presentation of THIRTEEN for WNET, one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers. For nearly 50 years, WNET has been producing and broadcasting national and local arts programming to the New York community.
Handel’s opera, based on the life of a seventh-century queen of Lombardy, premiered at the Met in 2004 with Fleming in the title role. The opera, in which Rodelinda’s love for her exiled husband remains steadfast despite the romantic and political machinations of his enemies, is a showcase for some of Handel’s most extraordinary arias and duets.
Bicket made his Met debut leading the new production premiere of Rodelinda in 2004, and has since conducted Met revivals of Handel’s Giulio Cesare and Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito. He is also the director of The English Concert, a Baroque orchestra that uses period instruments and tours throughout the United Kingdom and the United States. Wadsworth, whose staging of the opera has been praised for its clarity and fluidity, has also directed new productions of Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov and Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride at the Met, as well as a new staging of Smetana’s The Bartered Bride, co-produced with The Juilliard School.
Rodelinda is the sole Baroque heroine in Fleming’s extensive Met repertory of twenty-one roles. Her recent Met performances include the Countess in the first-ever Met revival of Strauss’s Capriccio; the title character in the Met premiere of Rossini’s Armida; the Marschallin in Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier; and the title characters in Massenet’s Thaïs and Dvořák’s Rusalka.
Blythe, like Fleming, starred in Rodelinda’s Met premiere and a subsequent revival in the 2005-06 season. Scholl made his Met debut as Bertarido in the 2006 revival of Rodelinda, and also starred in a high-profile 1998 Glyndebourne production of the opera, conducted by William Christie.
Davies is a prominent performer in recital and opera in his native England, specializing in the Baroque repertory. Kaiser co-starred with Fleming last season as Flamand in Strauss’s Capriccio. Shenyang has appeared at the Met as Colline in Puccini’s La Bohème and Masetto in Mozart’s Don Giovanni.
Soprano Deborah Voigt hosts. Matthew Diamond directs the telecast.
This Great Performances presentation is funded by the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation. Major support for the Rodelinda telecast is provided by Mr. and Mrs. Wilmer J. Thomas, Jr. 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.