Opera Orchestra of New York Presents ANDREA CHENIER at Avery Fisher Hall Today
The Opera Orchestra of New York presents an opera-in-concert performance of Umberto Giordano's verismo opera, Andrea Chénier conducted by Music Director Alberto Veronesi at Avery Fisher Hall today, January 6, 2013 at 4:00 pm. Tenor Roberto Alagna sings the title role of Andrea Chénier, one of opera's most dramatic lyric-tenor roles, for the first time, with soprano Kristin Lewis as Maddalena di Coigny, baritone George Petean as Carlo Gérard, with a special appearance by mezzo soprano Rosalind Elias as Madelon.
Andrea Chénier is based on the life of French poet, André de Chénier, who was wrongfully imprisoned and executed during the French Revolution. Set around the time of the Revolution, the opera tells the story of a love triangle formed by the poet Chénier, the aristocratic Maddalena, and her family's servant, Gérard that ultimately ends in the death of two lovers. Maddalena has been sending anonymous love letters to Chénier. Gérard, who has not expressed his feelings for Maddalena and is unaware of her writings to Chenier, joins the Revolution, climbs the ranks and sets out to marry Maddalena. Meanwhile, Chénier stays in France after the Reign of Terror in order to find out who has been sending him love letters and eventually learns that it is Maddalena. After Gérard discovers that his friend Chénier is the recipient of the letters, Gérard makes false accusations against Chénier in order to get rid of him and make Maddalena his own. Maddalena tries to save Chénier from death by offering herself to Gérard, but when Gérard fails to stop the execution, Maddalena secretly takes the place of another prisoner and dies with Chénier.
Last performed by the Opera Orchestra of New York in 1988 led by then Music Director Eve Queler, Andrea Chénier is best known for its lead tenor role with four arias including "Come un bel di di maggio. Maddalena's aria "La Mama Morta" was made famous in popular culture when the aria, sung by Maria Callas, was featured in the 1993 movie "Philadelphia" starring Tom Hanks.
Tenor Roberto Alagna http://www.robertoalagna.net/en/, praised for his radiant and luminescent voice, made his Opera Orchestra and Carnegie Hall debut in 2010 in the double bill of Massenet's La Navarraise and Mascagni's Cavalleria rusticana. Born in France of Sicilian parents, Mr. Alagna began singing cabaret in Paris, and has since gone on to become one of today's leading tenors. In recent years Mr. Alagna has been an advocate of neglected French operas from Massenet's Le Jongleur de Notre-Dame to new works such as his brother David Alagna's Le dernier jour d'un condamné. Mr. Alagna has a vast discography on Deutsche Grammophon. His recent recordings include an album in honor of Luis Mariano titled Sicilien, and Pasión. He is currently singing one of his signature roles, Radamès, in Aida at the Metropolitan Opera.
Soprano Kristin Lewis http://www.kristinlewis.de/, a native of Little Rock Arkansas, will make her Opera Orchestra debut in the role of Maddalena. Ms. Lewis, a two-time national finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions, now lives in Vienna and has performed in many European opera houses including Vienna Staatsoper, the l'Opéra de Paris, the Arena di Verona, Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, and the Bayerische Staatsoper.
Romanian baritone George Petean makes his Opera Orchestra of New York debut as Gerard. Following his Romanian debut in the title role of Don Giovanni in 1997, Mr. Petean has performed with leading European companies including Covent Garden, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Opera de Paris Bastille and Rome Opera, among others, and he was a permanent soloist at Hamburg State Opera from 2002-2010. Mr. Petean made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Marcello in La Bohème in 2010 and has since performed Valentin in the Met's Faust.
Mezzo-soprano Rosalind Elias has had one of the longest and continuous careers in operatic history. She has performed more than fifty leading roles throughout the world, including with the Metropolitan Opera, where she created the role of Charmian in Antony and Cleopatra at the Met during its first Lincoln Center season, as well as with San Francisco Opera, Washington Opera, LA Opera, Vienna State Opera and Paris Opera. After more than 60 years on the operatic stage, she made her Broadway debut in 2011 as Heidi in the Tony-nominated production of Sondheim's Follies. Ms. Elias is the recipient of two Emmys and three Grammys. She is also making her Opera Orchestra of New York debut.