MET Opera Live Sat., Feb. 8th at 1 PM – Double Bill of Iolanta by Tchaikovsky and Bluebeard’s Castle by BartókFebruary 1, 2019
**METROPOLITAN OPERA RADIO BROADCAST ALERT**
Double Bill of Iolanta by Tchaikovsky
and Bluebeard’s Castle by Bartók
Radio Broadcast: Saturday, February 9 at 1:00 p.m. ET
The 2018-19 Metropolitan Opera Radio Broadcast season continues with a double bill of rarely performed one-act operas, Tchaikovsky’s romantic fairy tale Iolanta and Bartók’s harrowing Bluebeard’s Castle. The performance will be heard live over Toll Brothers-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network at 1:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, February 9th broadcasting on WJOP-LP 96.3 FM Newburyport.
Iolanta stars Sonya Yoncheva in the title role of a blind princess and Matthew Polenzani as Vaudémont, the knight who loves her. The cast also features Alexey Markov as Robert, a duke who has been promised Iolanta’s hand in marriage; Vitalij Kowaljow as King René, Iolanta’s father; and Elchin Azizov as the physician Ibn-Hakia. Bluebeard’s Castle stars Angela Denoke as Judith, a bride who discovers the terrifying truth about her new husband, the menacing Duke Bluebeard, sung by Gerald Finley. Hungarian conductor Henrik Nánási makes his Met debut this season leading both operas of this double bill.
Bulgarian soprano Sonya Yoncheva adds the role of Iolanta to her Met repertory, having previously sung it at the Paris Opera. Yoncheva made her Met debut in 2013 as Gilda in Verdi’s Rigoletto, and returned in widely acclaimed performances as Mimì in Puccini’s La Bohème, Desdemona in Verdi’s Otello, and Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata. Last season, she sang the title role of Puccini’s Tosca, reprised Mimì in La Bohème, and sang the title role in Verdi’s Luisa Miller – all three productions transmitted as part of the Met’s Live in HD series, making Yoncheva the first artist to sing three principal roles in the same HD season. Her upcoming performances include Violetta at La Scala and Tosca at the Paris Opera.
American tenor Matthew Polenzani makes his role debut as Vaudémont. He has sung more than 360 performances with the Met since his company debut in 1997, in roles such as Nemorino in Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore, Nadir in Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs de Perles, the Duke in Verdi’s Rigoletto, and the title characters in Mozart’s Idomeneo, Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann, and Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux. Later this season, he will return to sing the title role in Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito. Other performances this season include Idomeneo at Lyric Opera of Chicago and Don José in Bizet’s Carmen at San Francisco Opera.
Russian baritone Alexey Markov reprises the role of Robert, which he sang when Iolanta had its Met premiere in the 2014-15 season. Markov made his Met debut as Prince Andrei Bolkonsky in Prokofiev’s War and Peace in 2007 and has since returned to the house as Marcello in La Bohème, Valentin in Gounod’s Faust, Tomsky in Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades, Count di Luna in Verdi’s Il Trovatore, Shchelkalov in Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov, Anckarström in Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera, and Riccardo in Bellini’s I Puritani. His recent performances also include the title role of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin at the Vienna State Opera and Germont in La Traviata at the Bolshoi Theatre.
Azerbaijani baritone Elchin Azizov made his Met debut as Ibn-Hakia during the 2014–15 season, and earlier this season he was seen as Abimélech in the Met’s new production of Saint-Saëns’s Samson et Dalila, which was shown around the world as part of the Met’s Live in HD series. Azizov has recently sung a number of roles with the Bolshoi Theatre, including Germont in La Traviata, Escamillo in Carmen, and Rodrigo in Verdi’s Don Carlo, and his upcoming engagements there include Lescaut in Puccini’s Manon Lescaut and Tomsky in The Queen of Spades.
Ukrainian bass Vitalij Kowaljow makes a Met role debut as King René this season. His company debut was in 2003 as the High Priest in Verdi’s Nabucco, and since then he has been seen in a variety of roles at the Met, including Ramfis in Verdi’s Aida, which he will reprise later this season, Sparafucile in Rigoletto, Sarastro in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Oroveso in Bellini’s Norma, and Raimondo in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor.
German soprano Angela Denoke has previously sung the role of Judith with the Opéra Orchestre National Montpellier. She made her Met debut in 2005 as the Marschallin in Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier. Denoke is renowned for her performances in 20th-century operas, including roles such as Katarina in Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Marie in Berg’s Wozzeck, and the Woman in Schoenberg’s Erwartung. She has appeared frequently with the Vienna State Opera, most recently as the title character in Janácek’s Kát’a Kabanová and the Countess Geschwitz in Berg’s Lulu. This season, she will also sing Herodias in Strauss’s Salome at Cologne Opera.
Canadian bass-baritone Gerald Finley makes his role debut as Bluebeard this season. He has sung nine other roles at the Met: the title roles of Rossini’s Guillaume Tell and Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Athanaël in Massenet’s Thaïs, Count Almaviva in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Golaud in Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, J. Robert Oppenheimer in the Met premiere of John Adams’s Doctor Atomic, Nick Shadow in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, Marcello in La Bohème, and Papageno in Die Zauberflöte (for his company debut in 1998). Other performances this season include Iago in Verdi’s Otello at the Bavarian State Opera, Canadian Opera Company, and Munich Opera Festival.
Henrik Nánási was the general music director of Komische Oper Berlin from 2012 to 2017, where he conducted Bluebeard’s Castle, Tchaikovsky’s Mazeppa and Eugene Onegin; Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi; Offenbach’s La Belle Hélène; and Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Così fan tutte, and Don Giovanni. Maestro Nánási has conducted at opera houses around the world, including the Paris Opera, Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, Bavarian State Opera, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Oper Frankfurt, and Royal Opera, Covent Garden. Earlier this season, he led Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra at Covent Garden, and later this season he will conduct Die Zauberflöte in Paris.
The single intermission will include artist interviews.