A Rare Revival of Berlioz's LES TROYENS Opens Tonight at the Met
Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi will lead a rare revival of Berlioz's Les Troyens beginning tonight, December 13.
Francesca Zambello's production, critically acclaimed when it premiered at the Met in 2003, will star Marcello Giordani in his house role debut as Aeneas, the central character in the grand tragedy, which travels from the crumbling walls of Troy to the North African kingdom of Carthage. Deborah Voigt will reprise her performance of the Trojan prophetess Cassandra, a role she debuted in the premiere of Zambello's production, and Susan Graham will sing her first Met performances of Dido, the lovesick queen of Carthage. The cast also features Julie Boulianneas Aeneas's son, Ascanio; Karen Cargill as Dido's devoted sister, Anna; Paul Appleby as the young sailor Hylas; Eric Cutler as Dido's court poet, Iopas; Richard Bernstein as the Trojan priest Pantheus; DWayne Croft as Cassandra's fiancé, Coroebus; and Kwangchul Youn as Narbal, Dido's trusted advisor. The Saturday, January 5 matinee performance of Les Troyens 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.
Fabio Luisi is only the fourth conductor in Met history to lead Les Troyens, which had its Met premiere in 1973 under the baton of Rafael Kubelik and has also been led by John Nelson and Met Music Director James Levine. This season at the Met, Luisi also conducts the new production of Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera, a revival of Verdi's Aida, and three complete cycles of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. His past Met performances include Verdi's Don Carlo, Simon Boccanegra, Rigoletto, and La Traviata; Richard Strauss's Die Ägyptische Helena, Elektra,and Ariadne auf Naxos; Puccini's Turandot, Tosca, and La Bohème; Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni; Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel; Berg's Lulu; and Massenet's Manon.
Marcello Giordani's numerous Met appearances include two major Berlioz roles, the title character in the Met premiere of Benvenuto Celliniand Faust in the 2008 new production premiere of La Damnation de Faust. He made his Met debut in 1995 as Rodolfo in La Bohème and has since sung more than 200 performances of 24 roles, most frequently Rodolfo, Pinkerton in Puccini's Madama Butterfly, Alfredo in La Traviata, Gabriele Adorno in Simon Boccanegra, Riccardo in Un Ballo in Maschera, the title role in Verdi's Ernani, and Cavaradossi in Tosca. Earlier this season, he sang Calàf in Turandot, and this spring he will sing Paolo in Zandonai's rarely heard masterpiece Francesca da Rimini. In 2008, he sang Aeneas with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Met Music Director James Levine, in a cast that also included Eric Cutler, DWayne Croft, and Kwangchul Youn in the roles they sing in this season's performances.
Deborah Voigt starred as Cassandra in the 2003 premiere of Zambello's production. She has sung more than 230 performances with the Met in a varied repertory that encompasses major Wagner roles, including Brünnhilde and Sieglinde in Der Ring des Nibelungen, Senta in Der Fliegende Holländer, Elsa in Lohengrin, Elisabeth in Tannhäuser, and Isolde in Tristan und Isolde; Richard Strauss roles, such as the title characters in Die Ägyptische Helena and Ariadne auf Naxos, the Empress in Die Frau ohne Schatten, and Chrysothemis in Elektra; and Verdi heroines like Amelia inUn Ballo in Maschera, Leonora in La Forza del Destino, and the title role in Aida. This spring, Voigt will reprise her Brünnhilde in two completeRing cycles conducted by Luisi.
Susan Graham's 140 performances with the Met include Marguerite in the new production premiere of La Damnation de Faust and Ascanius in a 1993 staging of Les Troyens. Her Met repertory includes Octavian in Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier, which she has sung 25 times with the company, and the Composer in his Ariadne auf Naxos; the title role in the new production premiere of Gluck's Iphigénie en Tauride; Mozart's Sesto in La Clemenza di Tito, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Dorabella in Così fan tutte, Idamante in Idomeneo, and Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro; the title role in Lehár's The Merry Widow; and Charlotte in Massenet's Werther. She has also starred in two world premieres at the Met, singing JorDan Baker in Harbison's The Great Gatsby and Sondra Finchley in Picker's An American Tragedy, also directed by Zambello. She sang Dido at the Châtelet in Paris in a series of performances that were recorded for DVD.
Julie Boulianne made her Met debut in 2011, singing both Diane in Iphigénie en Tauride and Stéphano in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette. Later this season, she makes her Met role debut as Siébel in Gounod's Faust.
Karen Cargill made her Met debut last season as Waltraute in Götterdämmerung, a role she will repeat in all three of this spring's Ringcycles.
Paul Appleby, a graduate of the Met's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, made his Met debut as Brighella in Ariadne auf Naxos in 2011 and returned last season to sing Demetrius in the world premiere of the Baroque pastiche The Enchanted Island. Later this season, he sings the Chevalier de la Force in Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmélites.
Eric Cutler, also a Lindemann graduate, has sung more than 60 performances in 10 roles at the Met, most recently the Italian Singer in Der Rosenkavalier, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, Arturo in Bellini's I Puritani, and Léopold in the new production premiere of Halévy's La Juive.
DWayne Croft sang Coroebus opposite Voigt's Cassandra in the 2003 new production premiere of Les Troyens. This season at the Met, he also sings Ping in Turandot, Rambaldo in Puccini's La Rondine, and Donner in Der Ring des Nibelungen. His past performances with the company have included Figaro in IL Barbiere di Siviglia, Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, Pelléas in Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande, and the title roles in Don Giovanni and Britten's Billy Budd.
Richard Bernstein has sung more than 250 Met performances in a wide variety of roles. This season, he also sings Zuniga in Bizet'sCarmen, Wagner in Faust, and Commissioner 2 in Dialogues des Carmélites.
Kwangchul Youn, who sings both Narbal and Mercury in this season's performances of Les Troyens, most recently appeared at the Met as Raimondo in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor. His other Met roles include Sarastro in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, King Marke in Tristan und Isolde,and Ferrando in Verdi's Il Trovatore.