Metropolitan Opera to Open 2013-14 Season with Tchaikovsky's EUGENE ONEGIN, 9/23

Metropolitan Opera to Open 2013-14 Season with Tchaikovsky's EUGENE ONEGIN, 9/23

The Metropolitan Opera will open its 2013-14 season on September 23 at 6:30 p.m. with a new production of Tchaikovsky's romantic tragedy Eugene Onegin, directed by Deborah Warner in her Met debut. Valery Gergiev returns to the Met for the first time since 2010 to conduct the performance, which will feature Anna Netrebko-the first soprano in Met history to star in three consecutive opening night performances-in her first company performances as the naïve heroine Tatiana, whose infatuation with the title character has tragic repercussions. Mariusz Kwiecien brings his acclaimed interpretation of Onegin to the Met for the first time, opposite Piotr Beczala, who reprises his celebrated portrayal of Lenski. Oksana Volkova sings the role of Tatiana's sister, Olga, and Alexei Tanovitski sings Prince Gremin, the older man who offers Tatiana security. This cast sings eight performances of the opera through October 19, with the October 5 matinee performance transmitted live to more than 1,900 movie theaters in 64 countries around the world as part of The Met: Live in HD series. Due to an unexpected surgical procedure, Warner was unable to travel to the Met to stage Eugene Onegin, which is being directed here by her longtime collaborator Fiona Shaw.

Beginning November 23, a new cast takes the starring roles in the production. Peter Mattei makes his company role debut as Onegin opposite Marina Poplavskaya as Tatiana and, in his first Met performances since 2009, Rolando Villazón as the doomed Lenski. Russian mezzo-soprano Elena Maximova makes her Met debut as Olga and Štefan Kocán sings Prince Gremin in this cast, which will be conducted by Russian maestro Alexander Vedernikov in his Met debut.

Valery Gergiev has conducted more than 100 Met performances in a varied repertory, including the company premieres of Prokofiev's The Gambler and War and Peace; Tchaikovsky's Mazeppa; and Shostakovich's The Nose. He made his Met debut in 1994 leading a new production of Verdi's Otello and also conducted the new production premieres of Tchaikovsky's The Queen of Spades, Strauss's Salome, and Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov. He conducted an acclaimed run of Eugene Onegin in the Met's 2006-07 season that included a Live in HD transmission. Gergiev is the general director of Moscow's Mariinsky Theatre, the artistic director of St. Petersburg's White Nights Festival, and the principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra. Also this season, Gergiev conducts the first Met revival of William Kentridge's acclaimed staging of The Nose.

Deborah Warner makes her Met debut with this production, which premiered at the English National Opera in 2011. She has also staged Britten's Death in Venice and Handel's Messiah for ENO; Verdi's La Traviata for the Vienna Festival; and Purcell's Dido and Aeneas for Paris's Opéra Comique. Her staging of Death in Venice has also been seen at La Monnaie in Brussels, La Scala in Milan, and Der Nederlandse Opera in Amsterdam.

Fiona Shaw's previous directorial credits include Henze's Elegy for Young Lovers, Vaughan Williams's Riders to the Sea, and Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro at English National Opera, and an upcoming production of Britten's The Rape of Lucretia for the Glyndebourne Festival. Her 25-year working partnership with Deborah Warner started with a landmark production of Electra in 1988. Their many collaborations since then have included Medea, The Waste Land, Happy Days, and The Testament of Mary (all of which were seen in New York).

This season, Anna Netrebko becomes the first soprano in the Met's 130-year history to star in three consecutive opening night performances. She starred as Adina in Donizetti's comedy L'Elisir d'Amore last season, and opened the 2011-12 season with a celebrated company role debut as the title character in Donizetti's Anna Bolena. This is her first time singing the role of Tatiana at the Met; she debuted it to critical acclaim earlier this year at the Vienna State Opera. Netrebko made her Met debut in 2002 as Natasha Rostova in the Met premiere of War and Peace, conducted by Gergiev. This season marks Netrebko's first Met performances in her native Russian since her debut season. Her 14 roles with the company have also included the title character in Massenet's Manon, both Mimì and Musetta in Puccini's La Bohème, Antonia in Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann, the title role in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor, Norina in Donizetti's Don Pasquale, and Elvira in Bellini's I Puritani. In January, she returns to the Met to reprise her Adina in L'Elisir d'Amore.

Mariusz Kwiecien makes his Met role debut as Onegin, a part he has sung to acclaim at numerous leading international opera houses, including the Bolshoi in Moscow; Paris Opera; the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; Teatro Real in Madrid; and Kraków Opera in his native Poland. A graduate of the Met's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, he has sung more than 150 Met performances include five roles in new production premieres: Belcore in last season's L'Elisir d'Amore, the title character in Mozart's Don Giovanni (2011), Escamillo in Bizet's Carmen(2009), Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor (2007), and Dr. Malatesta in Don Pasquale (2006). Kwiecien made his Met debut as Kuligin in a 1999 revival of Janá?ek's Kát'a Kabanová and has also starred at the Met in a variety of other roles, most frequently Marcello in La Bohème, Count Almaviva in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, and Guglielmo in Mozart's Così fan tutte. In April, he will add the role of Riccardo in I Puritani to his Met repertory.

Piotr Beczala first sang Lenski at the Met in the 2008-09 season; he has also sung the role with San Francisco Opera and Zurich Opera. Last season, he sang the Duke in the Met's new staging of Verdi's Rigoletto and made his company role debut as the title character in Gounod's Faust. His other Met appearances have included the Chevalier des Grieux in the new production premiere of Massenet's Manon, Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor, and Rodolfo in La Bohème (all three opposite Netrebko), as well as Roméo in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette. In January, he returns to the Met to sing the Prince in a revival of Dvo?ák's Rusalka.

Peter Mattei sings his first Met Onegin this season. He has sung the role at the Salzburg Festival, the Vienna State Opera, and in concert at Tanglewood. Last season, he made an acclaimed role debut as Amfortas in the Met's new production of Wagner's Parsifal. His other Met roles have included Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro and the title role in Don Giovanni; Figaro in the new production premiere of Rossini's IL Barbiere di Siviglia; Marcello in La Bohème; Shishkov in the Met premiere of Janá?ek's From the House of the Dead; and Yeletsky in The Queen of Spades. On December 22, he will join the MET Orchestra at Carnegie Hall under the direction of James Levine for a concert featuring Mahler's song cycle "Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen" ("Songs of a Wayfarer.")

Marina Poplavskaya makes her Met role debut as Tatiana, a part she sang in 2008 at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden. Her previous Met performances have included Natasha in War and Peace (the role of her debut), Liù in Puccini's Turandot, and three roles in new production premieres: Elisabeth de Valois in Verdi's Don Carlo, Violetta in La Traviata, and Marguerite in Faust, which she reprised at the Met last season. Elsewhere this season, she sings a diverse repertory including Hélène in Verdi's Les Vêpres Siciliennes (Royal Opera, Covent Garden), Elisabeth in Wagner's Tannhäuser (Berlin State Opera), and Mathilde in Rossini's Guillaume Tell (Munich Festival).

Rolando Villazón, making his company role debut as Lenski, returns to the Met for the first time since 2009. He made his Met debut in 2003 as Alfredo in La Traviata and returned as the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto, Rodolfo in La Bohème, and Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor, a role he reprised on the Met's tour to Japan in 2011. He has sung Lenski with the Berlin State Opera and will reprise it at the Vienna State Opera this spring opposite Kwiecien as Onegin. Also this season, he will sing Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni at the Berlin and Vienna State Operas, Alfredo at Munich State Opera, and Ferrando in Mozart's Così fan tutte at La Scala.

Russian conductor Alexander Vedernikov makes his Met debut. He has conducted Eugene Onegin at La Scala, Paris Opera, and the Bolshoi in recent seasons, as well as Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo's Pagliacci at Zurich Opera; Salome, The Queen of Spades,Smetana's The Bartered Bride, and Janá?ek's The Cunning Little Vixen at Komische Oper Berlin; and Puccini's Madama Butterfly and Turandot,Verdi's Macbeth, and Rimsky-Korsakov's The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh at the Bolshoi.

The design team for Eugene Onegin comprises scenic designer Tom Pye, whose numerous opera productions include Warner's stagings ofDeath in Venice and the Messiah; costume designer Chloe Obolensky, whose credits include the1999 English-language film Onegin, a staging of Tchaikovsky's opera by Andrei Serban, and numerous collaborations with Peter Brook; lighting designer Jean Kalman, whose previous Met credits include Robert Carsen's staging of Eugene Onegin, Marthe Keller's staging of Don Giovanni, and the recent new productions of Verdi's Attila andMacbeth; video designers Ian William Galloway and Finn Ross, whose previous opera designs include Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos at Glyndebourne and Faust at the Mariinsky; and choreographer Kim Brandstrup, who made his Met debut with the 1994 new production of Death in Venice. Pye, Obolensky, Galloway, and Ross make their Met debuts with Eugene Onegin.

This production of Eugene Onegin was made possible by a generous gift from

Ambassador and Mrs. Nicholas F. Taubman. The Metropolitan Opera is grateful to Deutsche Bank for underwriting the Opening Night Gala for the thirteenth consecutive year. Additional funding for the Opening Night Gala is provided by Manhattan Jaguar.

Photo by: Lee Broomfield/Metropolitan Opera