When you picture her, do you whistle a rhumba by Xavier Cugat ("the fellows are crazy for the lady in red..."), or a ballad by Chris de Burgh ("this beauty by my side...")? If you tune into the Met opera this week, you might be singing a NEW song to the Lady in Red - the "Brindisi" from Verdi's La Traviata.
The clip above shows Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazon in Willy Decker's earlier staging at the Salzburg Festival. This time out at the Metropolitan Opera, the singer wearing the little red dress is the French soprano Natalie Dessay. (A slide show of photos from the production is at the top of the blog.) She stars in this updated production of the tale of the comely courtesan Violetta Valéry. She is "the woman who strayed" of the title, and she knows her time is almost up. As much as she loves the younger gentleman, Alfredo, she bows to the wish of Alfredo's father, Giorgio Germont, to end their scandalous affair. Everyone realizes too late that Violetta really does have a heart of gold.
Director Willy Decker has staged Giuseppe Verdi's popular tale in a contemporary setting. The production was first seen at the Salzburg Festival in 2005 to critical acclaim and sold-out houses, and the Met's performances last season and earlier this week (with Hei-Kyung Hong covering for an indisposed Dessay) were equally well-received. American tenor Matthew Polenzani will reprise his portrayal as Alfredo, while barihunk Dmitri Hvorostovsky will play Giorgio Germont. The chorus and orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera is led by Fabio Luisi. In recent seasons, Natalie Dessay has sung Violetta at the Vienna State Opera, the Aix-en-Provence Festival, and the Santa Fe Opera, but the current run is her role debut at the Met. To follow along, here is the Met's synopsis.
La Traviata will be heard on CBC Radio 2 over the Toll Brothers-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network at 1 p.m. ( 2:00 AT, 2:30 NT) on Saturday, April 14. The performance will also be transmitted worldwide as part of The Met: Live in HD series, which is now seen in more than 1,700 movie theaters in 54 countries. Transmission of The Met: Live in HD in Canada is made possible thanks to the generosity of Jacqueline and Paul G. Desmarais Sr. The single intermission will feature live backstage interviews with the stars, conducted by HD host Deborah Voigt.
Massenet's Manon, live from the Met
Donizetti's Elixir of Love, live from the Met
Verdi's Macbeth, live from the Met
on Apr 11, 2012