Feb. 8: Rusalka

Feb 6, 2014

Piotr Beczala as the Prince and Emily Magee as the Foreign Princess in Dvořák's "Rusalka."
Credit Ken Howard / Metropolitan Opera

The 2013-14 Metropolitan Opera Radio Broadcast season continues with a live broadcast of Dvořák’s lyrical fairy tale Rusalka, starring Renée Fleming in one of her signature roles Saturday, February 8 from noon-4 on KLRE Classical 90.5.

Yannick Nézet-Séguin leads the cast that also includes Piotr Beczala as the Prince, Dolora Zajick as the witch Ježibaba, Emily Magee in her network broadcast debut as the Foreign Princess, and John Relyea as Rusalka’s father, the Water Gnome. Rusalka will be heard live over the Toll Brothers-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network at 1:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, February 8.

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 more frequently than any other soprano in Met history. She has starred in 21 operas with the company, including numerous premieres and eight Live in HD transmissions. Recent Met performances include Desdemona in Verdi’s Otello; the title character in Handel’s Rodelinda; the Countess in Strauss’s Capriccio; the title character in the company premiere of Rossini’s Armida; the Marschallin in Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier; and the title character in a new production of Massenet’s Thaïs. On February 2, she became the first opera singer in history to perform the national anthem at the Super Bowl.

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.

Tenor Piotr Beczala starred as Lenski in the Met's Opening Night performance 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. Since his company debut in 2006, he has appeared in three new production premieres and four Live in HD transmissions, including the Duke in Verdi’s Rigoletto and Des Grieux in Massenet’s Manon.

Mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick sang Ježibaba to acclaim 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 two of her signature Verdi roles, Amneris in Aida and Azucena in Il Trovatore. In recent Met 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.

American soprano Emily Magee makes her Met debut this season as the Foreign Princess, a role she has sung recently 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.

Bass 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 Faust; the title role in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro; Colline in Puccini’s La Bohème, Raimondo in the new production premiere of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor; and Garibaldo in the Met premiere of Rodelinda.

The intermissions will include backstage interviews with the stars, led by Live in HD host Susan Graham, as well as the Toll Brothers-Metropolitan Opera Quiz. There will also be the second in a series of produced features to acquaint listeners with Borodin’s opera, Prince Igor, which returns to the Met stage on February 6 after an absence of almost 100 years and has its network broadcast premiere on Saturday, March 1.  In this installment, director Dmitri Tcherniakov will discuss his new production of the opera.