Simon Rattle to Make Conducting Debut at the Met, 12/17

Simon Rattle, Artistic Director of the Berlin Philharmonic, will make his Metropolitan Opera debut December 17 leading a revival of Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande. The cast will feature Czech mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená as Mélisande and French baritone Stéphane Degout as Pelléas. Gerald Finley will sing the role of Pelléas's jealous brother Golaud, Felicity Palmer will sing the role of his mother Geneviève, and Willard White will complete the cast as the aged monarch Arkel. All five singers are making their Met role debuts.

Debussy's opera, based on the late 19th-century symbolist play by Maurice Maeterlinck, is the quintessential Impressionistic opera, with a richly orchestrated score colorfully evoking the moods of the mysterious drama onstage. Jonathan Miller's production, which premiered at the Met in 1995, is "a masterpiece of understatement, and yet it reflects the tiniest shifts of texture, urgency, and emotion in Debussy's meticulous handiwork" (Financial Times). Rattle, the conductor who in the opinion of one Guardian reporter "has made a greater impact on the arts worldwide than any other living Brit," recently conducted Pelléas et Mélisande with the Berlin Philharmonic; according to Opera News, he "guided his singers gently through the tangled Impressionistic forest of the score...[and] made it pulsate with drama and urgency."

Magdalena Kožená has been heard at the Met as Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, Dorabella in Così fan tutte, Idamante in Idomeneo, and Varvara in Janá?ek's Kát'a Kabanová. Her performances of Mélisande, a role she has performed to acclaim at the Deutsche Staatsoper, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, and in concert in Amsterdam, will be her first at the Met. When Stéphane Degout sang Pelléas in Brussels, Bloomberg praised him for a "fervent, passionate" performance featuring an "ample, virile voice." Gerald Finley's past Met roles include J. Robert Oppenheimer, the title character in the Met premiere of John Adams's Doctor Atomic, which was transmitted worldwide through The Met: Live in HD. Felicity Palmer's recent Met appearances include the Marquise of Berkenfield in the new production premiere of La Fille du Régiment, the Countess in The Queen of Spades, and Klytämnestra in Elektra. Willard White is the only cast member to have sung in Pelléas et Mélisande previously at the Met. He made his Met debut as Golaud in a 2000 revival of the work, conducted by James Levine.
           
Jonathan Miller's production features set design by John Conklin, costume design by Clare Mitchell, and lighting design by Duane Schuler.
            
Live Broadcasts Around the World
Pelléas et Mélisande will be experienced by millions of people around the world this season on the radio and on the internet, through distribution platforms the Met has established with various media partners.

The December 17 opening performance will be broadcast live on Metropolitan Opera Radio on SIRIUS channel 78 and XM channel 79, as will the performances on December 23, 29 and January 1.

The December 17 performance will also be available via internet streaming at the Met's web site www.metopera.org. The January 1 12:00 matinee will be broadcast live over the Toll Brothers-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network.
 
For More Information, See the Met's Web Site
For more information please see the Met's Web site at http://www.metoperafamily.org/metopera/news/press/.

 



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