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Piotr Beczala Sings First Met Performances in Title Role of Gounod's FAUST Tonight

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Piotr Beczala will sing the title role in Gounod's Faust for the first time at the Met beginning tonight, March 21, opposite Marina Poplavskaya as Marguerite, a role she sang in the 2011 premiere of Des McAnuff's production. Alain Altinoglu, who led Faust at the Met last season, returns to conduct the opera, which also stars John Relyea as the diabolical Méphistophélès, Alexey Markov as Valentin, and Julie Boulianne as Siébel.

Earlier this year, Piotr Beczala starred as the Duke of Mantua in Michael Mayer's new staging of Verdi's Rigoletto. Last season, he sang the Chevalier des Grieux in the new production premiere of Massenet's Manon. He has sung four additional roles at the Met to critical acclaim: Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Lenski in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, Rodolfo in Puccini's La Bohème, and Roméo in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette. He has sung Faust at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, and Vienna State Opera. Next season at the Met, he will sing Lenski in the season-opening new production of Eugene Onegin and the Prince in a revival of Dvo?ák's Rusalka.

Marina Poplavskaya made her Met role debut as Marguerite in last season's new production premiere of Faust; she has also sung the role with the Berlin State Opera. Her past roles at the Met include Natasha Rostova in Prokofiev's War and Peace, Liù in Puccini's Turandot, and two leading roles in new productions of Verdi operas, Elisabeth de Valois in Don Carlo and Violetta in La Traviata. Next season at the Met, she will make her company role debut as Tatiana in the new production of Eugene Onegin.

John Relyea makes his Met role debut as Méphistophélès, a role he has sung with San Francisco Opera and Washington Concert Opera. Relyea made his Met debut in 2000 as Alidoro in Rossini's La Cenerentola, and has since sung 12 additional roles with the company, including a different Méphistophélès (in the new production premiere of Berlioz's La Damnation de Faust), the title role in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, Colline in La Bohème, Raimondo in the new production premiere of Lucia di Lammermoor, and Garibaldo in the Met premiere of Handel's Rodelinda. Next season, he will sing his first company performances of the Water Sprite in Rusalka.

Julie Boulianne made her Met debut in 2011 as Diane in Gluck's Iphigénie en Tauride. Her subsequent company performances include Stéphano in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette and Ascanio in Berlioz's Les Troyens. Earlier this season, she sang Stéphano with Vancouver Opera, Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro with Opéra de Montreal, and Fragoletto in Offenbach's Les Brigands at the Opéra-Comique in Paris. Later this season, she will sing Romeo in Bellini's I Capuleti e i Montecchi with Opéra de Reims.

Alexey Markov made his Met debut in 2007 as Prince Andrey Bolkonsky in War and Peace opposite Poplavskaya as Natasha. He has also appeared with the company as Shchelkalov in the new production premiere of Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov, Tomsky in Tchaikovsky's The Queen of Spades, Marcello in La Bohème (a role he reprises at the Met next season), and di Luna in Verdi's Il Trovatore. Earlier this season, he sang both Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor and Renato in Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera at Zurich Opera. This summer, he will sing di Luna in a new production of Il Trovatore at the Munich Festival.

Alain Altinoglu, who also conducts Verdi's Otello this month at the Met, conducted his first company performances of Faust last season. He has previously led the opera at the Vienna State Opera, Paris Opera, and Berlin State Opera. His other engagements this season include Prokofiev's L'Amour des Trois Oranges at Opéra Bastille, Rabaud's Mârouf, Savetier du Caire at the Opéra-Comique, Massenet's Thérèse at Montpelier Festival, and Wagner's Der Fliegende Holländer at Zurich Opera. He made his Met debut leading Bizet's Carmen in 2010 and returns next season to conduct a new production of Massenet's Werther.

Tonight's March 21 opening performance of Faust will be broadcast live on Metropolitan Opera Radio on SIRIUS XM Channel 74, as will the performance on March 28. Tonight's March 21 performance will also be streamed live on the Met's website, www.metopera.org.

For more information on this season's performances of Faust, visit the Met's website at www.metopera.org.

Pictured: Piotr Beczala. Photo by Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera (c) 2012.


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