Opera’s Most Popular Double Bill, Cavalleria Rusticana / Pagliacci, Returns With Fabio Luisi Conducting Sir David McVicar’s Production
Roberto Alagna stars as the murderous clown Canio in Pagliacci,
with Barbara Frittoli as his doomed wife Nedda.
Yonghoon Lee sings his first Met performances of Turiddu in Cavalleria Rusticana, opposite Violeta Urmana, and rising dramatic soprano Liudmyla Monastyrska as Santuzza.
New York, NY – The popular verismo double bill of Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci returns to the Met beginning January 21. Sir David McVicar’s acclaimed production, which premiered last season, will be led by Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi. In Cavalleria Rusticana, Yonghoon Lee and Liudmyla Monastyrska add new roles to their Met repertory as the callous Turiddu and wronged Sicilian heroine Santuzza. Violeta Urmana reprises Santuzza in the opening performances, and Ambrogio Maestri sings the role of the character Alfio.
In Pagliacci, Roberto Alagna stars as the volatile clown Canio with Barbara Frittoli as Nedda, his flirtatious wife. George Gagnidze reprises the role of Tonio and Alexey Lavrov and Rodion Pogossov sing the role of Silvio. Ricardo Tamura sings Turiddu on February 23 and 26.
Fabio Luisi made his Met debut conducting Verdi’s Don Carlo in 2005 and has since led 180 performances of 28 operas in addition to five concerts with the MET Orchestra. As Met Principal Conductor, some of his most notable performances include Verdi’s Macbeth; Wagner’sRing cycle; Richard Strauss’s rarely heard Die Ägyptische Helena; Berlioz’s epic Les Troyens; and new productions last season of Lehár’s The Merry Widow and Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci. He will also conduct performances of the new production of Puccini’s Manon Lescaut and Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro later this season at the Met.
Violeta Urmana last sang the role of Santuzza during the 2004-05 season. She made her Met debut as Kundry in Wagner’s Parsifal in 2001, and since then, she has sung the title roles of Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos, Rossini’s La Gioconda, and Puccini’s Tosca; both the title role and Amneris in Verdi’s Aida, Odabella in Verdi’s Attila and Maddalena in Giordano’s Andrea Chénier. Later this season, she will sing Kundry at the Vienna State Opera and Santuzza at Teatro Municipale Giuseppe Verdi Salerno, as well as the Principessa in Puccini’s Suor Angelica at the Rome Opera.
Liudmyla Monastyrska has previously sung the role of Santuzza at La Scala and the Salzburg Easter Festival. She made her company debut in 2012 starring as the title character in Aida. Later this season, she can be seen reprising the title role of Aida at the Vienna State Opera and Paris Opera and Abigaille in Verdi’s Nabucco at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden. Earlier this season, she sang the title role of Tosca at the Met.
Yonghoon Lee makes his Met role debut as Turiddu, a role he has sung at La Scala and the Royal Opera, Covent Garden. He made his Met debut in the title role of Verdi’s Don Carlo in 2010. His other roles at the Met include Don José in Bizet’s Carmen and Ismaele in Nabucco. Lee starred as Manrico in Verdi’s Il Trovatore with the company this past fall, and later this season, he will sing both Manrico in Il Trovatore and Calàf in Puccini’s Turandot at the Bavarian State Opera, and Don José in Carmen at Opera Australia.
Ricardo Tamura has previously sung Turiddu at Stadttheater Klagenfurt in Austria. He made his Met debut in 2013 as Cavaradossi in Tosca, and his other company credits include the title role of Don Carlo and Gustavo III in Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera. Credits with other companies include Bacchus in Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos at the Welsh National Opera, Alfredo in Verdi’s La Traviata at the Nuremberg State Theatre, and the title character in Verdi’s Otello at Teatro Haagen in Madrid.
Ambrogio Maestri made his Met debut in 2004 as Amonasro in Aida, followed by performances of Alfio in Cavalleria Rusticana in 2006. His other company credits include Dulcamara in Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore and as the title character in Verdi’s Falstaff. Later this season, Maestri will sing Scarpia in Tosca at the Bavarian State Opera, the title roles of Verdi’s Rigoletto at the Hanover State Opera and Falstaff at Symphony Hall, Birmingham UK in addition to the title character in Donizetti’s Don Pasquale at the Met.
Barbara Frittoli makes her Met role debut as Nedda. After making her company debut as Micaëla in Carmen in 1995, she has sung 110 performances at the Met including roles such as Elisabeth de Valois in Don Carlo, Vitellia in Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito, and Donna Elvira in Mozart’s Don Giovanni. She sang the role of Mimì in La Bohème earlier this season with the company and will star as Amelia Grimaldi in Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra at the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Vienna State Opera, and Opera Australia later this season.
Roberto Alagna previously sang Canio with the company in 2009 and with the Los Angeles Opera in 2005. He has sung over 100 performances since his Met debut as Rodolfo in La Bohèmein 1996. Since then, he has sung twelve other roles with the company including Don José inCarmen, Cavaradossi in Tosca, Radamès in Aida, and the title characters in Gounod’s Faust and Massenet’s Werther. Later this Met season, Alagna will sing the role of Pinkerton in Puccini’sMadama Butterfly.
George Gagnidze has previously sung the role of Tonio at the Gran Teatre del Liceu, the Los Angeles Opera, and the new production premiere last season at the Met. He made his Met debut as Rigoletto in 2009, and his other company credits include Amonasro in Aida, Scarpia in Tosca, the title role in Verdi’s Macbeth, and Shaklovity in Mussorgsky’s Khovanshchina. Later this season, he can be seen as Rigoletto at the Deutsche Oper Berlin and Amonasro at the Paris Opera.
Alexey Lavrov sang Silvio last season in the Met’s new production of Pagliacci. He made his company debut in 2013 as a Flemish Deputy in Don Carlo, followed by roles such as Yamadori in Manama Butterfly and Dominik in Strauss’s Arabella. He sang Schaunard in La Bohème earlier this season and can be seen later this year as Dr. Malatesta in Don Pasquale.
Rodion Pogossov makes his Met role debut as Silvio. He made his company stage debut as Fiorello in Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia in 2002, and since then, he has sung roles that have included Marullo in Rigoletto, Papageno in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, and Guglielmo in Mozart’sCosì fan tutte. Later this season, he will sing Struley in Bellini’s Adelson e Salvini in concert at the Barbican Hall in England.
Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci Fun Facts
Although the two pieces have different composers and unrelated storylines, today Cavalleria Rusicana and Pagliacci are almost always paired together, a practice that began at the Met in 1893. The two works are the best-known examples of the verismo operatic genre. One of the most well-known arias in Pagliacci, “Vesti la giubba,” was recorded by Enrico Caruso in 1902 and became the first million-selling record in history according to the Guinness Book of Records.
Pagliacci was first introduced to the Met in 1891 and is the ninth most performed production with the company with 720 performances to date. In 1893, Cavalleria Rusticana was first introduced at the Met and is the tenth most-performed production with 675 performances to date. Enrico Caruso sang the role of Canio a record number of times at the Met with 116 performances, but other well-known tenors who have sung the role include Plácido Domingo, James McCracken, Luciano Pavarotti, and Jon Vickers.
Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci Radio Broadcasts
The February 6 and 17 performances of Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci will be broadcast live on Metropolitan Opera Radio on SIRIUS XM Channel 74. The performance on January 21 will also be streamed live on the Met’s website, www.metopera.org.
The February 6 matinee performance will be broadcast live over the Toll Brothers-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network.