Renee Fleming, Johan Botha to Star in 'Otello' on Great Performances' AT THE MET, 2/24

Verdi's Shakespearean tragedy OTELLO starring Johan Botha in the title role and Renee Fleming as Otello's innocent wife, Desdemona, airs on Great Performances AT THE MET Sunday, February 24 at 12 noon on PBS (check local listings).

In New York, THIRTEEN will premiere the opera on Thursday, February 21 at 8:30 p.m., with an encore showing Sunday, February 24 at 12:30 p.m.

Semyon Bychkov, who led an acclaimed run of performances featuring Botha and Fleming in the 2007-08 season, again conducts the opera, regarded by many critics as Verdi's dramatic masterpiece.

Falk Struckmann takes the role of the villain Iago for the first time at the Met, and rising tenor Michael Fabiano, a winner of the Met's 2007 National Council Auditions, makes his house role debut as Cassio. Otello will be seen in Elijah Moshinsky's production, which premiered at the Met in 1994.

Wilborn Hampton in the Huffington Post, called this production a "splendid staging of OTELLO with the incomparable Renee Fleming delivering a sublime performance as the ill-fated Desdemona" Zachary Woolfe in The New York Times opined, "Falk Struckmann's forceful yet subtle Iagoconveyed chillingly how Iago manages to wreak such havoc while eluding suspicion."

Soprano Sondra Radvanovsky will host the transmission.

OTELLO was originally seen live in movie theaters on October 27 as part of the groundbreaking The Met: Live in HD series, which transmits live performances to more than 1900 movie theaters and performing arts centers in 64 countries around the world.

Great Performances AT THE MET is a presentation of THIRTEEN for WNET, one of America's most prolific and respected public media providers. For 50 years, THIRTEEN has been making the most of the rich resources and passionate people of New York and the world, reaching millions of people with on-air and online programming that celebrates arts and culture, offers insightful commentary on the news of the day, explores the worlds of science and nature, and invites students of all ages to have fun while learning.

Corporate support for Great Performances AT THE MET is provided by Toll Brothers, America's luxury home builder. This Great Performances presentation is funded by the Irene Diamond Fund, Vivian Milstein, the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, The Agnes Varis Trust, and public television viewers.

For the Met, Barbara Willis Sweete directs the telecast. Jay David Saks is Music Producer, Mia Bongiovanni and Elena Park are Supervising Producers, and Louisa Briccetti and Victoria Warivonchik are Producers. Peter Gelb is Executive Producer. For Great Performances, Bill O'Donnell is Series Producer; David Horn is Executive Producer.

Visit Great Performances online at for additional information on this and other Great Performances programs.

About WNET
In 2013, WNET is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of THIRTEEN, New York's flagship public media provider. As the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to over 5 million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, Need to Know, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children's programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state's unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJ Today and MetroFocus, the multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region.

About the Met
Under the leadership of General Manager Peter Gelb and Music Director James Levine, the Met has a series of bold initiatives underway that are designed to broaden its audience and revitalize the company's repertory. The Met's 2012-13 season features seven new productions, including Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore, directed by Bartlett Sher and conducted by Maurizio Benini; the Met premiere of Thomas Ades's The Tempest, directed by Robert Lepage and conducted by the composer; Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera, directed by David Alden and conducted by Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi; the Met premiere of Donizetti's Maria Stuarda, directed by David McVicar and conducted by Benini; Verdi's Rigoletto, directed by Michael Mayer in his Met debut and conducted by Michele Mariotti; Wagner's Parsifal, directed by Francois Girard in his Met debut and conducted by Daniele Gatti; and Handel's Giulio Cesare, also directed by David McVicar and conducted by Harry Bicket.

Building on its 81-year-old radio broadcast historyheard over the Toll Brothers-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Networkthe Met uses advanced media distribution platforms and state-of-the-art technology to reach audiences around the world. The Met: Live in HD, the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning seriesof live performance transmissions to movie theaters around the world, returns for its seventh season in 2012-13. Met Player, a subscription service makes much of its extensive video and audio catalog of full-length performances available to the public for the first time online, and in exceptional, state-of-the-art quality. Metropolitan Opera Radio on SIRIUS XM broadcasts live performances from the Met stage three times a week during the opera season, as well; the Met on Rhapsody on-demand service offers audio recordings; and the Met presents free live audio streaming of performances on its website once every week during the opera season.

The Met has launched several audience development initiatives, including Open House dress rehearsals, a popular rush ticket program, Gallery Met, and an annual Holiday Series presentation for families. For more information, please visit:

Source: THIRTEEN/WNET New York

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