Renee Fleming to Star in the Title Role of RUSALKA, Beg. 1/23

Renee Fleming in Rusalka. Photo by Ken Howard/Met Opera.

Renée Fleming will return to one of her signature roles, the title character in Dvorák's Rusalka, for six performances beginning January 23. Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts his first Met performances of the opera about a water spirit in love with a human prince, adapted from the same sources as Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale "The Little Mermaid."

The cast will also include Piotr Beczala and John Relyea in company role debuts as the Prince and Rusalka's father, the Water Sprite; Emily Magee in her Met debut as the Foreign Princess; and Dolora Zajick in a role she sang to acclaim in the opera's 1993 Met premiere, the witch Ježibaba. The February 8 matinee will be transmitted live as part of the Met's Live in HD series, which now reaches more than 2,000 theaters in 64 countries around the world.

Renée Fleming won the Met's National Council Auditions 25 years ago singing the "Song to the Moon" from Rusalka and has performed the title role with the company in three different seasons, more frequently than any other soprano in Met history. Her Met repertory includes 21 roles in a variety of operas. In recent seasons, she has starred as Desdemona in Verdi's Otello; the title character in the company premiere of Handel's Rodelinda; the Countess in Strauss's Capriccio; the title character in the Met premiere of Rossini's Armida; the Marschallin in Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier; and the title character in a new production of Massenet's Thaïs.

American soprano Emily Magee makes her Met debut as the Foreign Princess, a role she has recently sung at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona and the Salzburg Festival. Her other performances this season include Irene in Wagner's Rienzi at the Salzburg Festival; Leonore in Beethoven's Fidelio at the Bremen Festival; the Empress in Strauss's Die Frau ohne Schatten at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; and the title role in Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos at the Vienna State Opera.

Dolora Zajick sang Ježibaba in the Met premiere of Rusalka in 1993 and repeated the role opposite Fleming in 1997 and 2004. Over the course of her 25-year Met career, she has sung more than 200 performances, including more than 100 in her two signature Verdi roles, Amneris in Aida and Azucena in Il Trovatore. In recent seasons, her other roles have included Ulrica in Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera, the Countess in Tchaikovsky's The Queen of Spades, and Adalgisa in Bellini's Norma.

Piotr Beczala starred as Lenski in this season's opening night production of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin. This season's performances mark his Met role debut as the Prince, a role he has sung at Zurich Opera, Bavarian State Opera, and the Salzburg Festival. 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 recent appearances have included the Chevalier des Grieux in the new production premiere of Massenet's Manon, Edgardo in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor, Rodolfo in Puccini's La Bohème, and Roméo in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette.

John Relyea made his Met debut in 2000 as Alidoro in Rossini's La Cenerentola, and has since sung 13 additional roles with the company, including Méphistophélès in the new production premiere of Berlioz's La Damnation de Faust and in last season's revival of Gounod's 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 Rodelinda.

Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the Music Director of the Philadelphia Orchestra, leads his first Met performances of this opera. He made his Met debut in 2009 leading the new production premiere of Bizet's Carmen and returned the next two seasons to lead new production premieres of Verdi's Don Carlo and Gounod's Faust. Last season, he conducted an acclaimed revival of Verdi's La Traviata. In 2012, he led the company premiere of Rusalka at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden.

Rusalka Live in HD and Radio Broadcasts: Rusalka will be transmitted live to movie theaters around the world on Saturday, February 8 at 12:55 p.m. as part of the Met's Live in HD series. Mezzo-soprano Susan Graham hosts the transmission. Since the Live in HD series launched in 2006, nearly 14 million tickets have been sold to opera lovers worldwide. The Met: Live in HD is now seen in more than 2,000 theaters in 64 countries around the world.

The January 23 opening performance of Rusalka will be broadcast live on Metropolitan Opera Radio on SIRIUS XM Channel 74, as will the performances on January 27, February 4, and 8. The January 23 performance will also be streamed live on the Met's website, www.metopera.org. The February 8 matinee will also be broadcast live over the Toll Brothers-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network.

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



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