Mozart’s elegant masterpiece of marital discord, Le Nozze di Figaro, conducted by Met Music Director James Levine and staged by Richard Eyre, is the season nine premiere of Great Performances at the Met on Friday, January 16 at 9 pm on PBS.
Eyre’s staging of the opera, in which the romantic bonds of two couples are tested over the course of one eventful day, is set in a stately manor in 1930s Seville. Ildar Abdrazakov, star of Prince Igor (also seen on Great Performances at the Met) and an acclaimed Figaro at the Met in the past, sings the title role. The cast also includes Marlis Petersen as Figaro’s quick-witted bride-to-be, Susanna; Peter Mattei in one of his most acclaimed roles as Count Almaviva; Amanda Majeski in her Met debut as Almaviva’s wife, the long-suffering Countess; and Isabel Leonard as the boisterous page Cherubino. Eyre’s Met credits include the 2009 hit production of Carmen and last season’s Werther, both broadcast on Great Performances at the Met.
The Wall Street Journal found this new production of Le Nozze di Figaro to be “A swiftly paced, playful evening… Eyre skillfully built the comic ensembles to climaxes that made you laugh out loud… A happy Marriage at the Met.” New York Magazine raved, “A ravishing, intricately wrought evening of music, humor and emotional depth… An evening like this is the strongest argument for the continued vigor of the Met.”
A continuation of five characters’ stories, including Figaro, the Count and Countess, Bartolo, and Don Basilio, Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro (though written several decades earlier) is the sequel to Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia, which will be coming up on Great Performances at the Met on March 22 at 12 p.m. (check local listings). Mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard stars in both productions, as Cherubino in Figaro and Rosina, the future countess, in Il Barbiere di Siviglia.
One of the most popular operas of all time, Mozart’s Figaro features music that has been used in countless movies and advertisements, including Trading Places, The King’s Speech, and The Shawshank Redemption.
Soprano Renée Fleming hosts the broadcast.
Le Nozze di Figaro was originally seen live in movie theaters on October 18, 2014, 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 Donald G. Sisler, 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.