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Mozart's Die Zauberflote Returns to the Met 9/23

Mozart's enchanting masterpiece, Die Zauberflöte ("The Magic Flute"), returns to the Met on September 23 in the acclaimed production by Julie Taymor, performed in its original German-language version. The opening performance features the debut of conductor Bernard Labadie, Met Auditions winner Susanna Phillips as Pamina (Met role debut), Erika Miklósa as the Queen of the Night, Matthias Klink as Tamino (Met debut), Christopher Maltman as Papageno (Met role debut), David Pittsinger as the Speaker, and Georg Zeppenfeld as Sarastro (Met debut).

Die Zauberflöte enters the repertory again from April 1 to 15 with the Met debuts of Julia Kleiter as Pamina and Albina Shagimuratova as Queen of the Night; Matthew Polenzani reprises his acclaimed Tamino; both Nathan Gunn and Rodion Pogossov return to the role of Papageno; and Hans-Peter König makes his Met debut as Sarastro. Adam Fischer and Paul Nadler share conducting duties, both leading this opera for the first time in their Met careers.

When Julie Taymor's magical production opened in 2004, the New Yorker called hers a "deeply dazzling vision ...the Met stage has never been so alive with movement, so charged with color, so brilliant to the eye." Since then, Taymor's production has become a popular icon in the Met repertory. The abridged English-language version of The Magic Flute launched The Met: Live in HD series of high-definition (HD) transmissions into movie theaters around the world in 2006. The Magic Flute in HD, conducted by James Levine and starring Nathan Gunn as Papageno, has been issued on DVD by the Met and is on sale at the Met Opera Shop (where it is a best-seller), as well as at www.metoperashop.org and at other vendors. In addition to conceiving and directing the production, Taymor also designed the costumes. George Tsypin designed the sets and Donald Holder the lighting, while Taymor and Michael Curry designed the puppets, and Mark Dendy created the choreography.

 

About the Performers

Susanna Phillips, who made her Met debut last season as Musetta in La Bohème, returns this season for her first Pamina with the company. A graduate of the Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Alabama native won four of the world's leading vocal competitions in 2005-the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the MacAllister Awards, the George London Foundation, and Plácido Domingo's Operalia, where she won both First Place and the Audience Prize. She has previously sung Pamina in 2006 at the Santa Fe Opera. In addition to the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Santa Fe, she has sung with the Dallas Opera, Stockholm Philharmonic, Mostly Mozart Festival, and at Carnegie Hall with the Marilyn Horne Foundation and the Oratorio Society of New York.

The young German soprano Julia Kleiter, who made her professional opera debut in 2004 as Pamina at the Paris Opera, makes her Met debut in the same role. She has also sung several other Mozart roles, including Serpetta in La Finta Giardiniera (Zurich Opera), Papagena (Teatro Comunale, Modena), Cella in Lucio Silla (La Fenice), Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro (Reggio Emilia), and Amital in La Betulia Liberata (Salzburg Festival), as well as Zdenka in Richard Strauss's Arabella (Zurich Opera), Marzelline in Beethoven's Fidelio (Reggio Emilia), and Xenia in Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov (Maggio Musicale in Florence).

Erika Miklósa reprises her signature role of the Queen of the Night, which she first sang at the Met in her 2004 debut and most recently in the 2006-07 season, when she appeared in The Met: Live in HD performance. The Hungarian soprano has performed the role with numerous companies, including San Francisco Opera, Paris Opera, Vienna State Opera, and Royal Opera, Covent Garden. Other roles in her repertoire include Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Norina in Don Pasquale, Gilda in Rigoletto, and the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor.

A native of Tashkent and a recent graduate of the Houston Opera Studio, Albina Shagimuratova makes her Met debut as the Queen of the Night. She sang the role in her European debut at the Salzburg Festival in 2008 as well as with Los Angeles Opera and Deutsche Oper Berlin. Among her recent appearances are Musetta in La Bohème (Houston Grand Opera) and Gilda in Rigoletto (Palm Beach Opera, Houston Grand Opera).

Matthias Klink makes his Met debut as Tamino, a role he has also sung at the Vienna State Opera, Salzburg Festival, and the Ruhrtriennale. Other Mozart roles in the young German tenor's repertoire include Belmonte in Die Entführung as dem Serail, Ottavio in Don Giovanni, Ferrando in Così fan tutte, Polidoro in La Finta Semplice, and the title role in Idomeneo. He sings regularly at the Stuttgart Opera, and has also sung at the opera houses of Hamburg, Frankfurt, Dresden, Bologna, Parma, and at Berlin's Deutsche Oper and Komische Oper, and Paris's Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. He made his La Scala debut in 2003 as Jacquino in Fidelio under Riccardo Muti and his American debut in 2006 as Belmonte at the Cincinnati May Festival under James Conlon.

American tenor Matthew Polenzani returns as Tamino, which he sang in The Met: Live in HD transmission in 2006 and at the present production's premiere in 2004. Last season he appeared as Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, one of a number of Mozart roles he has performed at the Met since his 1997 debut, including Ferrando in Così fan tutte and Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail. A graduate of the Met's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program and the 2008 winner of the Met's Beverly Sills Artist Award, he has sung a wide range of roles with the company, including Narraboth in a new production of Salome, Alfredo in La Traviata, Roméo in Roméo et Juliette, David in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Count Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and Fenton in Falstaff. In addition, he performed in Mozart's Mass in C minor with the MET Orchestra in Carnegie Hall.

Christopher Maltman, who makes his company role debut as Papageno, was Silvio in Pagliacci last season, and first appeared at the Met in 2005 as Harlekin in Ariadne auf Naxos. The British baritone, who has a degree in biochemistry, is a renowned Mozartean who also sings Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro (Vienna State Opera), Guglielmo in Così fan tutte (Seattle Opera), and the title role in Don Giovanni (Salzburg Festival). He performs a wide range of lyric roles with major companies, from Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas (Vienna State Opera) to 20th-century works such as Tarquinius in The Rape of Lucretia (Bavarian State Opera) and Sebastian in the world premiere of Thomas Adès's The Tempest (Royal Opera, Covent Garden).

Nathan Gunn reprises the role of Papageno, which he played when the opera kicked off The Met: Live in HD series in 2006. The American baritone, a National Council winner in 1994, was the first winner of the Met's Beverly Sills Artist Award, in 2006. At the Met, he has performed such roles as Clyde Griffiths in the 2005 world premiere of Tobias Picker's An American Tragedy, Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette, which was seen live in HD by audiences around the world in 2007, Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, Harlekin in Ariadne auf Naxos, and Schaunard in La Bohème.

Russian baritone Rodion Pogossov returns as Papageno, which he sang at the current production's premiere in 2004 as well as in the revival last season. This season he also makes his Met role debut as Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. A graduate of the Met's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, he made his debut 2001 as Fiorello in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. He was Marullo in Rigoletto and sang with the MET Chamber Ensemble and Music Director James Levine in Weill Recital Hall.

The young German bass Georg Zeppenfeld, who has been a member of the Dresden State Opera since 2001, makes his Met debut as Sarastro. His repertoire includes the title role in Le Nozze di Figaro, Masetto in Don Giovanni, Pimen in Boris Godunov, and Fasolt in Das Rheingold.

Hans-Peter König makes his Met debut in the role of Sarastro. The German bass, who is particularly well-known as a Wagnerian, also sings Daland in Der Fliegende Holländer this season at the Met, as well as at Berlin's Deutsche Oper and the Teatro Real in Madrid. He recently appeared as King Marke in Tristan und Isolde (Deutsche Oper), Hunding and Hagen in Der Ring des Nibelungen (Stockholm's Royal Opera), Landgraf Hermann in Tannhäuser (Dresden State Opera), and Prince Gremin in Eugene Onegin (Royal Opera, Covent Garden).

American bass-baritone David Pittsinger returns as the Speaker, the role he sang when the opera was transmitted worldwide as part of The Met: Live in HD series in 2006. This season he also performs the Animal Trainer/Acrobat in Lulu. He made his debut as Trulove in a new production of The Rake's Progress in 1997, and has also sung the Friar in Don Carlo, Colline in La Bohème, and Achilla in Giulio Cesare.

Bernard Labadie makes his Met debut on the podium. The Canadian maestro, an early-music specialist, is the founder and music director of Les Violons du Roy, a chamber orchestra and choir, and the choral ensemble La Chapelle de Québec, which will perform both Handel's Messiah and Bach's Christmas Oratorio in Carnegie Hall this season. He has served as artistic and music director of the Quebec Opera (1994-2003) and Montreal Opera (2002-2006) and appears regularly with international orchestras. In the United States, he has conducted Handel's Orlando at Glimmerglass, Lucio Silla at the Santa Fe Opera, and Così fan tutte at the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York.

Hungarian maestro Adam Fischer conducts Die Zauberflöte for the first time in his Met career. He made his company debut with Otello in 1994 and has also led performances of Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Aida. He is the general music director of the Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orchestra (which he founded in 1987) and the Hungarian State Opera, as well as chief conductor of the Danish Radio Sinfonietta. He appears with such international companies as the Vienna State Opera, Zurich Opera, Chicago's Lyric Opera, La Scala, Paris Opera, and San Francisco Opera, as well as such orchestras as the Vienna Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the Chicago Symphony.

Maestro Paul Nadler has led a wide range of operas at the Met, but Die Zauberflöte marks his first Mozart assignment here. He made his company debut with Rigoletto in 1989 and went on to conduct several more Verdi works (Un Ballo in Maschera, Aida, Don Carlo, and La Traviata) as well as Tannhäuser, Fidelio, Carmen, Roméo et Juliette, Eugene Onegin, and the Stravinsky triple bill of Le Sacre du Printemps, Le Rossignol, and Oedipus Rex.

Live Broadcasts to be Heard around the World

Die Zauberflöte will be heard by audiences around the world this season on the radio and the web, through distribution platforms the Met has established with various media partners.

The season premiere on September 23 as well as performances on April 10 and 15 will be broadcast live on Metropolitan Opera Radio on SIRIUS channel 78 and XM channel 79.

The April 10 matinee, featuring Julia Kleiter, Albina Shagimuratova, Matthew Polenzani, Nathan Gunn, David Pittsinger, and Hans-Peter König, under the baton of Adam Fischer, will be broadcast live over the Toll Brothers-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network.

 


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