Natalie Dessay to Make Met Debut in LA TRAVIATA, to be Transmitted Live 4/14

Natalie Dessay to Make Met Debut in LA TRAVIATA, to be Transmitted Live 4/14

Natalie Dessay will make her Met role debut as Violetta Valéry, the iconic heroine of Verdi's La Traviata, in a revival of Willy Decker's highly praised 2011 production of the opera. Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi leads his first Met performances of the tragic love story, which also stars Matthew Polenzani as the lovesick Alfredo and Dmitri Hvorostovsky as Alfredo's father, Giorgio Germont. The April 14 matinee will be transmitted live around the world as part of The Met: Live in HD series, which now reaches more than 1,700 movie theaters in 54 countries.

These will be Dessay's first complete performances of Violetta at the Met, though she sang the character's famous double aria "Ah fors'è lui…Sempre libera" at the Met's 125th Anniversary Gala in 2009. In recent seasons, she has sung the role at the Vienna State Opera, the Aix-en-Provence Festival, and the Santa Fe Opera. Her numerous Met appearances include four new production premieres: Juliette in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette (2005), the title roles in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor (2007) and La Fille du Régiment (2008), and the title role in Bellini's La Sonnambula (2009). She made her Met debut in 1994 as Fiakermilli in Richard Strauss's Arabella and has also sung Zerbinetta in his Ariadne auf Naxos and Olympia in Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann. Next season, she will make her Met role debut as Cleopatra in a new production of Handel's Giulio Cesare.

Polenzani sang Alfredo last season in the premiere of Decker's production. He first sang the role at the Met in the 2007-08 season. His Met repertory includes numerous Mozart roles: Ferrando in Così fan tutte, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte,Belmonte in Die Entfuhrüng aus dem Serail, and Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni-a role he sang at the Met this season in Michael Grandage's new production of the opera. His other recent Met engagements include Ernesto in Donizetti's Don Pasquale, Roméo inRoméo et Juliette, David in Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, and Fenton in Verdi's Falstaff. On opening night of the Met's 2012-13 season, he will make his house role debut as Nemorino in a new production of Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore.

Giorgio Germont is one of six Verdi roles in Hvorostovsky's Met repertory. Earlier this season, he sang his first performances of Don Carlo in Ernani; Met audiences have also heard him as the title character in Simon Boccanegra,Rodrigo in Don Carlo, Renato in Un Ballo in Maschera, and di Luna in Il Trovatore. He has sung the elder Germont, one of his most acclaimed interpretations, more than 20 times at the Met over the past decade. Next season, he stars in a new production of Un Ballo in Maschera and a revival of Don Carlo.

In addition to La Traviata, Luisi conducts this month's new production premiere of Massenet's Manon and three complete cycles of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. Earlier this season at the Met, he led the new production premieres of Wagner's Siegfried and Götterdämmerung and Mozart's Don Giovanni. He will lead next season's new production ofUn Ballo in Maschera, revivals of Verdi's Aida and Berlioz's Les Troyens, and three additional Ring cycles.