VIDEO: Piotr Beczala on LUISA MILLER at The Met Opera

VIDEO: Piotr Beczala on LUISA MILLER at The Met Opera

During intermission of the April 14 Live in HD transmission of Luisa Miller, tenor Piotr Becza?a speaks with host Anthony Roth Costanzo about singing the role of Rodolfo. 2017-18 season.

Plácido Domingo adds yet another role to his legendary Met career in this rarely performed Verdi gem, a heart-wrenching tragedy of fatherly love. Sonya Yoncheva sings the title role opposite Piotr Becza?a in the first Met performances of the opera in more than ten years. Bertrand de Billy conducts.

Luisa Miller represents a transitional moment in Giuseppe Verdi's unparalleled career. While reminiscent of the youthful vitality that had made Verdi an international sensation, the opera also looks forward to the dramaturgical discipline and sophistication of the composer's middle period. The story centers on the bond between a father and his daughter as they stand together against a hostile world, and much of the dramatic and psychological acumen that would define the mature Verdi is already fully apparent in this earlier work. It is an opera very much like its title character-one that impresses with genuine virtues rather than superficial flashiness.

In a remarkable career spanning six decades in the theater, Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) composed 28 operas, at least half of which are at the core of today's repertory. Salvadore Cammarano (1801-1852) was a playwright and one of the foremost librettists of his day. He created several libretti for Donizetti, including Lucia di Lammermoor (1835), as well as La Battaglia di Legnano (1849) and Il Trovatore (1853) for Verdi.

The opera was originally set during the first half of the 17th century in the Tyrolean Alps (now part of Austria), which reflects the Germanic source of the drama. The non-Mediterranean setting is also typical of an interest in Northern Europe that was a hallmark of the Romantics and other artists of the early 19th century. The Met's current production updates the setting to rural England in the era of the work's composition.

As the opera represents a pivotal moment in Verdi's career, so the score itself has aspects of both the rough vitality of his early works and the refinement of his middle career. Passionate melody is on full display throughout the score, nowhere more than in the tenor's ravishing Act II aria "Quando le sere al placido." The rare duet for two basses in Act II reflects the preponderance of lower voices found throughout the score, and it is against these dark sounds that the high tessitura of Luisa's soprano takes on an additional feel of lightness and purity. Her impassioned "Tu puniscimi, O Signore," filled with pianissimo high Cs, is a choice example of her music expressing the luminescence of her character.

Lusia Miller is on stage March 29 through April 21. For tickets and more visit: https://www.metopera.org/Season/2017-18-Season/luisa-miller-verdi-tickets/

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