Puccini’s final opera opens Met’s 2019-20 HD series

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Famous tenor aria Nessun Dorma among many highlights


Once again, the Metropolitan Opera’s Saturday afternoon HD presentations will feature a wide variety of performances at USC Beaufort’s Center for the Performing Arts. Among them will be three of Puccini’s most popular heroines, Turandot, Tosca and Madam Butterfly. While these three are staged for Peking, Rome and Nagasaki respectively, another one should have much more local interest – Porgy and Bess, set in Charleston.

Tickets are now available at the USC Beaufort Center for the Arts at 801 Carteret St, Beaufort, online at www.centerforthearts.com or by phone at 843-521-4145. All seats are general admission. Adults are $20, OLLI members $18 and students $10.
Here are the Met briefs for each of the 10 HD transmissions:

Oct. 12, Turandot: Thrilling dramatic soprano Christine Goerke brings her fierce portrayal of the princess to the stage in Franco Zeffirelli’s dazzling production of Puccini’s final masterpiece. Roberto Aronica is the mysterious prince Calaf who sings opera’s world famous tenor aria, “Nessun Dorma” with Met Music Director Yannick Nezet-Seguin at the podium.

Oct. 26, Massenet’s Manon: Soprano Lisette Oropesa appears as the title character, a tragic beauty who yearns for the finer things in life. Tenor Michael Fabiano is the besotted Chevalier des Grieux, whose desperate love for Manon proves their undoing. Maurizio Benini conducts.

Nov. 9, Madam Butterfly: The heartbreaking role of the doomed geisha will be sung by soprano Hui He, with tenor Andrea Care as the American naval officer who abandons her. The exceptional tenor Placido Domingo makes his role debut as U.S. Consul Sharpless, while Pier Giorgio Morandi conducts Anthony Minghellla’s sweeping production, a perennial audience favorite.

Nov. 23, Philip Glass’s Akhanaten: The production stars countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo as the revolutionary title ruler who transformed ancient Egypt. To match the opera’s hypnotic, ritualist music, director Phelim McDermott includes a company of acrobats and jugglers. Karen Kamensek is at the podium.

Jan. 11, 2020, Wozzeck: Seven weeks later, it’s Alban Berg’s Wozzeck. After wowing audiences with his astounding staging of Berg’s Lulu, William Kentridge now focuses his imagination on Wozzeck. Baritone Peter Mattei sings the title role, alongside a commanding cast that includes soprano Elza van den Heever and tenor Christopher Ventris.

Feb. 1, 2020, George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess: One of America’s favorite operas. James Robinson’s stylish production transports audiences to Catfish Row on the Charleston waterfront, vibrant with the music, dancing, emotion and hearbreak of its inhabitants. The dynamic cast features the sympathetic duo of baritone-bass Eric Owens and soprano Angel Blue in the lead roles.

Feb. 29, 2020, George Frideric Handel’s Agrippina: A dark comedic tale of intrigue and impropriety in ancient Rome. Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato sings the role of the controlling, power-hungry mother of Nero, as she plots the downfall of the Roman Emperor Claudius and the installation of her son, sung by mezzo Kate Lindsey. Harry Bicket conducts Sir David McVicar’s ingenious reframing of the ancient action.

March 14, 2020, Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman: Starring famous bass-baritone Bryan Terfel, who brings his acclaimed portrayal of the doomed sea captain to an HD performance for the first time. Valery Gergiev conducts a new staging by Francois Girard which turns the stage into a rich, layered tableau reminiscent of a vast oil painting. Soprano Anja Kamper makes her Met debut as the devoted Senta, whose selfless love is what the Dutchman seeks.

April 11, 2020, Puccini’s Tosca: Anna Netrebko, whom the New York Times hailed as “magnificent” when she sang the role for the first time in 2018, returns as Puccini’s explosive diva. Tenor Brian Jagde is the idealistic painter Mario Cavaradossi and baritone Michael Volle completes the fatal love triangle as the sinister Scarpia. Bertrand de Billy takes the podium to direct Sir David McVicar’s stunning production.

May 9, 2020, Donizetti’s bel canto Maria Stuarda: After her triumph as Violetta in last season’s La Traviata, soprano Diana Damrau returns in the role of the martyred Mary, Queen of Scots. Mezzo Jamie Barton is her imperious rival Queen Elizabeth I, and tenor Stephen Costello is the Earl of Leicester. Maurizio Benini conducts.

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