Juan Diego Flórez will reprise his acclaimed portrayal of the amorous title character in the first Met revival of Rossini's Le Comte Ory, opening January 17. As Countess Adèle, the beautiful aristocrat Ory schemes to seduce, 27-year-old South African soprano Pretty Yende makes her Met debut. Bartlett Sher returns to direct his 2011 Met premiere production, which will once again be conducted by Maurizio Benini. The cast also includes Karine Deshayes in the trouser role of Ory's page, Isolier; Susanne Resmark as Ragonde;Nathan Gunn in his Met role debut as Raimbaud; and Italian bass Nicola Ulivieri in his Met debut as the Tutor.
Count Ory is one of eight roles Juan Diego Flórez has sung to acclaim at the Met. Since his 2002 debut as Count Almaviva in Rossini's IL Barbiere di Siviglia, he has sung nearly 100 Met performances, including the Met premiere of Le Comte Ory (2010) and the new production premieres of IL Barbiere di Siviglia (2006), Bellini's La Sonnambula (2009), and Donizetti's La Fille du Régiment (2008) and Don Pasquale(2006). He has also starred in revivals of Rossini's La Cenerentola and L'Italiana in Algeri and Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore. In both La Fille du Régiment and L'Elisir d'Amore, he offered rare Met encores of his characters' major arias, "Ah! Mes amis" (which features 9 high Cs) and "Una furtiva lagrima," respectively.
Pretty Yende won First Prize in the female division of the Operalia competition in 2011. She is a former member of the La Scala young artist program, and her roles with that company have included Berenice in Rossini's L'Occasione fa il Ladro and Elvira in his L'Italiana in Algeri; the Priestess in Verdi's Aida; Barbarina in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro; Norina in Donizetti's Don Pasquale; and Musetta in Puccini's La Bohème.
Karine Deshayes made her Met debut as Siébel in Gounod's Faust in the 2006-07 season. The French mezzo-soprano sings frequently at Paris Opera, where her recent engagements have included the title roles in La Cenerentola and Bizet's Carmen and Rosina in IL Barbiere di Siviglia.