Renée Fleming Reprises Her Lauded Performance As Handel’s Rodelinda On THIRTEEN’s Great Performances at the Met Sunday, April 22 at 12 p.m. on PBS
Handel’s Baroque showcase will also star Andreas Scholl and Stephanie Blythe; rising countertenor Iestyn Davies debuts
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.
Visit Great Performances online at www.pbs.org/gperf for additional information on this and other Great Performances programs.
New York’s WNET is America’s flagship public media outlet, bringing quality arts, education and public affairs programming to over 5 million viewers each week. The parent company of public television stations THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, Need to Know, Charlie Rose, Tavis Smiley and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the Math, Noah Comprende and Cyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJ Today and the new online newsmagazine MetroFocus.
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 has made a commitment to presenting modern masterpieces alongside the classic repertory, with highly theatrical productions featuring the greatest opera stars in the world. The Met’s 2011-12 season features seven new productions, including: the world premiere of The Enchanted Island, a Baroque pastiche with an original libretto by Jeremy Sams set to the music of Handel, Vivaldi, Rameau, and others; the Met premiere of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena directed by David McVicar; and the final two installments of Wagner’s epic Der Ring des Nibelungen, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung, directed by Robert Lepage and conducted by Maestro Levine. The first complete performances of the new Ring cycle are scheduled for April and May 2012. The season also features new productions of three repertory classics by outstanding directors—Mozart’s Don Giovanni by Michael Grandage, Gounod’s Faust by Des McAnuff, and Massenet’s Manon by Laurent Pelly.
Building on its 81-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 sixth season in 2011-12. The series of 11 transmissions begins October 15 with Anna Bolena and ends with La Traviata on April 14. The Met recently introduced Met Player, a new subscription service that makes much of its extensive video and audio catalog of full-length performances available to the public for the first time online, and 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, as well; the Met on Rhapsody on-demand service offers audio recordings; and the Met presents free live audio streaming of performances on its website once every week during the opera season.
The Met has launched several audience development initiatives, including Open House dress rehearsals, a popular rush ticket program, Gallery Met, and an annual Holiday Series presentation for families. For more information, please visit: www.metopera.org.