Dec. 7: Verdi's Rigoletto

Dec 5, 2013

Matthew Polenzani as The Duke in Verdi's "Rigoletto."
Credit Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera

The 2013-14 Metropolitan Opera Radio Broadcast season begins with a broadcast of Verdi’s Rigoletto, starring baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky in his first company performances of the title role this Saturday, December 7 at 12:00 p.m. CT on KLRE Classical 90.5.

Tenor Matthew Polenzani co-stars as the Duke, and two artists make their network broadcast debuts: Bulgarian soprano Sonya Yoncheva, who sings Gilda, and Spanish conductor Pablo Heras-Casado. Bass Štefan Kocán and mezzo- soprano Oksana Volkova reprise their roles as the corrupt siblings Sparafucile and Maddalena, which they sang last season in the premiere of Michael Mayer’s acclaimed production. Rigoletto will be heard over the Toll Brothers-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network at 12:00 p.m. CT on Saturday, December 7.

In recent seasons, Dmitri Hvorostovsky has sung Rigoletto at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples; the Vienna State Opera; and the Ravinia Festival. Last season at the Met, he starred as Anckarström in the new production of Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera and reprised his acclaimed portrayal of Rodrigo in a revival of Verdi’s Don Carlo. His company repertory includes numerous other Verdi roles: Giorgio Germont in La Traviata, Don Carlo in Ernani, the title character in Simon Boccanegra, and di Luna in Il Trovatore.

Matthew Polenzani sang Ferrando in Mozart’s Così fan tutte earlier this season under the baton of Met Music Director James Levine, a performance he will reprise in the spring for a series of performances including a radio broadcast and international Live in HD transmission. Polenzani opened the Met season last year as Nemorino in the new production of Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore and also sang Leicester in the Met premiere of Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda. He has sung more than 250 performances in 31 roles at the Met. In recent seasons, these have included Alfredo in the new production premiere of La Traviata, Don Ottavio in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and Ernesto in Donizetti’s Don Pasquale.

Sonya Yoncheva sang Gilda earlier this summer at the Arena di Verona. Her other performances this season include the title role in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor at the Paris Opera; Violetta in La Traviata at the Palau de les Artes Reina Sofia in Valencia; and Donna Anna in Don Giovanni at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. She made her Met debut on November 21, 2013 as Gilda, substituting at the last minute for a colleague who withdrew due to pregnancy.

Pablo Heras-Casado conducted a new production of Rigoletto last season at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. His recent opera engagements have included Verdi’s I Vespri Siciliani at the Frankfurt Opera, L’Elisir d’Amore at the Baden-Baden Festival, and both Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride and John Adams’s Nixon in China at the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto. He is the Principal Conductor of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and has also led performances at the Mostly Mozart and Salzburg Festivals.

The intermissions will include backstage interviews with the stars, a conversation with Met General Manager Peter Gelb, and the popular Toll Brothers-Metropolitan Opera Quiz, featuring guest artist, soprano Sondra Radvanovsky, who will sing the title role in Puccini’s Tosca on the broadcast Saturday, December 28.