Juan Diego Flórez Sings the Title Role for the First Metropolitan Opera Revival of Le Comte Ory
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by BWW News Desk
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.
Susanne Resmark made her Met debut as Ragonde in the 2011 company premiere of Le Comte Ory. The Swedish mezzo-soprano has recently sung Gertrude in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette at La Scala; Ortrud in Wagner's Lohengrin and Ulrica in Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera at the Royal Opera, Stockholm; and Kundry in Wagner's Parsifal at Malmö Opera.
Nathan Gunn most recently appeared at the Met in the title role of Britten's Billy Budd. An alumnus of the Met's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, Gunn's Met roles have included Papageno in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, Guglielmo in Mozart's Così fan tutte, Mercutio inRoméo et Juliette, and Clyde Griffiths in the world premiere of Tobias Picker's An American Tragedy.
Nicola Ulivieri has performed at many of Italy's leading opera houses, where his roles have included Leporello in Mozart's Don Giovanni(Bari); the title role in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro (Bologna); Don Basilio in IL Barbiere di Siviglia (Rome Opera); and Colline in Puccini's La Bohème (Torino). He recently sang the title role in Don Giovanni at the Hamburg State Opera and the Palau de les Arts in Valencia, Spain.
Maurizio Benini currently conducts the Met premiere performances of Donizetti's Maria Stuarda. Later this month, he will conduct additional performances of the new production of Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore, which premiered on opening night of the current Met season. His other company appearances include many performances of IL Barbiere di Siviglia, including the 2006 new production premiere; the new production premiere of Don Pasquale; and performances of Verdi's Rigoletto, La Traviata, and Luisa Miller, Rossini's La Cenerentola, Gounod'sFaust, and Bellini's Norma.