Renowned conductor Lorin Maazel will make a rare appearance at the Metropolitan Opera-conducting his first Verdi opera with the company-when he leads a revival of Don Carlo, opening February 22. Ramón Vargas sings his first Met performances of the title role, opposite Barbara Frittoli, also in her house role debut, as the tragic Elisabeth de Valois. Reprising their roles from previous Met seasons are Anna Smirnova as the mysterious Princess Eboli; Dmitri Hvorostovsky as the revolutionary Rodrigo, Count of Posa; Ferruccio Furlanetto as the tormented King Philip II; and Eric Halfvarson as the Grand Inquisitor. This season's performances are the first revival of Nicholas Hytner's production, which opened to critical acclaim in the Met's 2010-11 season.
Lorin Maazel is one of the world's preeminent conductors. Throughout his seven-decade career, he has served as chief conductor or music director of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Vienna State Opera, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and the Munich Philharmonic, a position he currently holds. He made his Met debut in the 1962-63 season conducting Mozart's Don Giovanni with Cesare Siepi in the title role and Eleanor Steber and Leontyne Price alternating as Donna Anna. Later that season, Maazel conducted Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier in a series of performances that featured Régine Crespin in her Met debut as the Marschallin. After an absence of more than 40 years, Maazel returned to the Met in 2008 to conduct five acclaimed performances of Wagner's Die Walküre.
Ramón Vargas sings his first Met performances as Don Carlo, a role he has sung at the Vienna State Opera and Munich Festival in recent seasons and will repeat at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris and Teatro Regio di Torino later this year. Don Carlo is Vargas's 19th role at the Met, where he has portrayed numerous Verdi characters including Foresto in the Met premiere of Attila,Riccardo in Un Ballo in Maschera, the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto, Gabriele Adorno in Simon Boccanegra, and Alfredo in La Traviata. Last season, Vargas sang Don Ottavio in the new production premiere of Don Giovanni.
Elisabeth de Valois is Barbara Frittoli's second Met role debut this season, following her acclaimed performances as Vitellia in Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito. In recent Met seasons, she has sung leading roles in the new production premieres of Don Giovanni(Donna Elvira), Bizet's Carmen (Micaëla), and Puccini's Il Trittico (Suor Angelica). Her Met repertory also includes Desdemona in Verdi'sOtello, the title role in Verdi's Luisa Miller, and Amelia in Simon Boccanegra. She previously sang Elisabeth in Don Carlo at the Teatro del Maggio Musicale in Florence and will repeat the role opposite Vargas in Paris and Torino this season.