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FRANCESCA DI RIMINI Returns for Its First Met Performances in 27 Years

FRANCESCA DI RIMINI Returns for Its First Met Performances in 27 Years

Riccardo Zandonai's Francesca da Rimini will return to the Met March 4 for its first company performances since 1986.

The opera, based on an episode from Dante's Inferno, will star Eva-Maria Westbroek as the beautiful noblewoman Francesca; Marcello Giordani as Paolo, the man she loves at first sight; Robert Brubaker as Paolo's jealous brother, Malatestino; and Mark Delavan as the lurid Gianciotto, to whom Francesca is unhappily married. Marco Armiliato will conduct his first Met performances of the opera, which will be seen in Piero Faggioni's 1984 production. The Saturday, March 16 matinee performance of Francesca da Rimini will be transmitted worldwide as part of the Met's Live in HD series, which is now seen in more than 1,900 movie theaters in 64 countries around the world.

Francesca da Rimini had its Met premiere in 1916 with Frances Alda in the title role, Giovanni Martinelli as Paolo, and Pasquale Amato as Gianciotto. The opera quickly gained a reputation among connoisseurs for its unusual blend of musical styles, joining the melodies of Italian verismo with the colorful harmonic influences of Debussy and the orchestral effects of Richard Strauss. The opera returned to the Met's repertory in 1984, when Faggioni's production premiered with Renata Scotto, Plácido Domingo, and Cornell MacNeil in the central roles. The production was revived once, in 1986, and has not been seen at the Met since then.

Eva-Maria Westbroek made her Met debut as Sieglinde in the new production premiere of Wagner's Die Walküre and sang the role in three complete cycles of Der Ring des Nibelungen last season. She most recently sang Francesca in a new production at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo in 2012. Earlier this season, she sang the title role in Puccini's Tosca at the Dresden Semperoper; Sieglinde at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; and the title role in Puccini's Manon Lescaut at La Monnaie in Brussels. Later this spring, she will sing the title role in Puccini's La Fanciulla del West at Frankfurt Opera and the title role in Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos at the Munich Festival.


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by Richard Sasanow