Verdi’s powerful Shakespearean tragedy Macbeth airs on Great Performances at the Met Sunday, February 1 at 12 noon (check local listings; in New York, THIRTEEN will air the opera at 12:30 pm).
The starry cast includes Serbian baritone Željko Lučić in the title role; Russian star soprano Anna Netrebko in her North American debut as the fatally ambitious Lady Macbeth; German bass René Pape as Banquo, one of the victims of Macbeth’s bloody rise to the throne; and Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja as Macbeth’s heroic rival Macduff.
Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi conducts his first-ever performances of Verdi’s thrilling drama, which is the 2007 production directed by former Royal Shakespeare Company artistic director Adrian Noble.
When the production opened in fall 2014, The New York Times raved about the evening’s Lady Macbeth: “This was Ms. Netrebko’s night… Her sound was plush yet smoky, her voice powerful yet unforced… This was incisive, exacting Verdi singing, with gleaming top notes. She is a soprano with star power in the best sense, a charismatic expressivity that pervades every element of her performance.”
And NY Classical Review observed that Željko Lučić gave a “dramatically compelling and vocally nuanced performance… His final, rage-fueled call to battle was harrowing. Luisi led a thrilling performance from the pit, weaving spooky atmospheres and wringing every drop of drama from the score.”
Anita Rachvelishvili hosts the broadcast. Read the opera synopsis.
Macbeth was originally seen live in movie theaters on October 11 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 69 countries around the world. The transmission reached a record-breaking 16 million viewers.
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 M. Beverly & Robert G. Bartner, with additional funding 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. Jay David Saks 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.
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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 2014-15 season features five new productions shown Live in HD, including Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, conducted by James Levine and directed by Richard Eyre; Lehár’s The Merry Widow, conducted by Andrew Davis and directed by Tony Award-winner Susan Stroman; Rossini’s La Donna del Lago, conducted by Michele Mariotti and directed by Paul Curran; Tchaikovsky’s one-act opera Iolanta presented in a double bill with a new staging of Bartók’s one-act Bluebeard’s Castle, conducted by Valery Gergiev and directed by Mariusz Treliński; and Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, led by Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi and directed by David McVicar.
Building on its 84-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, returns for its ninth season in 2014-15 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.