Jonas Kaufmann Sings the Title Role in a New Production of PARSIFAL for the Metropolitan Opera
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by BWW News Desk
Jonas Kaufmann will sing the title role in a new staging of Wagner's final opera, Parsifal,conducted by Daniele Gatti and directed by François Girard in his Met debut. The new production of Wagner's transcendent masterpiece will open February 15 with an extraordinary cast of Wagnerian stars, including Katarina Dalayman as the mysterious Kundry; Peter Mattei in his role debut as Amfortas, the wounded King of the Knights of the Holy Grail; René Pape as the wise knight Gurnemanz; Evgeny Nikitin as the evil Klingsor; and Rúni Brattaberg in his Met debut as Titurel, Amfortas's father. The production team for Girard's staging includes set designer Michael Levine, costume designer Thibault Vancraenenbroeck, lighting designer David Finn, video designer Peter Flaherty, choreographer Carolyn Choa, and dramaturg Serge Lamothe. The Saturday, March 2 matinee performance of Parsifal will be transmitted worldwide as part of the Met's Live in HD series, which is now seen in more than 1,900 movie theaters in 64 countries around the world.
French Canadian director François Girard makes his Met debut with this staging of Parsifal, a co-production of the Met, the Canadian Opera Company, and the Opéra National de Lyon, where it premiered in early 2012. Girard's other opera productions include Kaija Saariaho's Emilie at Lyon and the Netherlands Opera; a double bill of Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex and Symphony of Psalms at the Edinburgh Festival and Canadian Opera Company; a double bill of Brecht and Weill's The Lindbergh Flight and The Seven Deadly Sins in Lyon and Edinburgh; and Wagner's Siegfried as part of a multi-director staging of Der Ring des Nibelungen at Canadian Opera Company. He has also written and directed four feature films: Cargo, Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould, Silk, and the Academy Award-winning historical drama The Red Violin.
Daniele Gatti made his Met debut in 1994 conducting Puccini's Madama Butterfly and returned in 2009 to lead Verdi's Aida.Gatti, the current Music Director of the Orchestre National de France, has led numerous important orchestras and opera companies around the world, serving as Music Director of Zurich Opera, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and Teatro Comunale di Bologna, and Principal Guest Conductor at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden. He conducted Parsifal at Bayreuth every year from 2008 to 2011, and last season at Zurich Opera and the Théâtre des Champs Elysées. In August 2012, he conducted a new production of Puccini's La Bohème at the Salzburg Festival.
In this production, Jonas Kaufmann sings Parsifal for the first time since his role debut in 2006 at Zurich Opera. It was at that time that he agreed to sing Parsifal at the Met this season. He made his Met debut in 2006 as Alfredo in Verdi's La Traviata. In subsequent seasons, he has returned to star in a varied repertory, singing Tamino in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, Cavaradossi in Puccini'sTosca, Don José in Bizet's Carmen, Siegmund in the 2011 new production premiere of Wagner's Die Walküre, and the title role in the 2011 new production premiere of Gounod's Faust. Last season, he became the first Met artist since Luciano Pavarotti to perform a solo recital on the Met stage, with a program of lieder and art songs. He sang the title role in Wagner's Lohengrin to open the current La Scala season; his other recent credits include Florestan in Beethoven's Fidelio at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées and Bavarian State Opera; and Don José, Rodolfo in La Bohème, and Bacchus in Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos at the Salzburg Festival.
Katarina Dalayman has starred in numerous Wagner performances at the Met, singing both Brangäne and Isolde in Tristan und Isolde, Sieglinde in Die Walküre, and Brünnhilde in Die Walküre, Siegfried, and Götterdämmerung. Her non-Wagner Met roles have included the Duchess of Parma in the Met premiere of Busoni's Doktor Faust, Marie in Berg's Wozzeck, and Lisa in Tchaikovsky's The Queen of Spades. Later this season, she will reprise her Brünnhilde in a complete Ring cycle at the Met and in Die Walküre at the Munich Festival.
Peter Mattei makes his role debut as Amfortas in this production. This will be his first Wagner role at the Met, where he has sung Count Almaviva in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro and the title role in his Don Giovanni; Figaro in the new production premiere of Rossini's IL Barbiere di Siviglia; Marcello in La Bohème; Shishkov in the Met premiere of Janá?ek's From the House of the Dead; and Yeletsky in The Queen of Spades. This season, he sings Don Giovanni with the Vienna State Opera and the Bolshoi; last season, he sang that role at the Paris Opera and La Scala, and the title role in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin at Vienna State Opera.
René Pape made an acclaimed Met role debut as Gurnemanz in 2003 and repeated the role in 2006. Since his 1995 Met debut as the Speaker in Die Zauberflöte, he has sung 187 Met performances in 22 roles. His extensive Met repertory includes numerous Wagner roles: Pogner in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Fasolt in Das Rheingold, King Heinrich in Lohengrin, King Marke in Tristan und Isolde,and Hunding in Die Walküre. His other recent roles at the Met include Méphistophélès in Faust, Philip II in Verdi's Don Carlo, and the title role in the new production premiere of Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov. Later this season, he will sing the Ring cycle's Wotan in Das Rheingold at Berlin State Opera and Die Walküre at La Scala.
Evgeny Nikitin made his Met debut in 2002 as Lt. Dolokhov in Prokofiev's War and Peace. His Met repertory includes Creon inOedipus Rex, Fasolt in Das Rheingold, Colline in La Bohème, Pogner in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Orest in Strauss's Elektra, and Rangoni in Boris Godunov, a role he sang opposite Pape in the recent new production premiere. This season, he also sings Telramund inLohengrin at the Bavarian State Opera and Munich Festival; Amfortas in Parsifal at Zurich Opera; and Gunther in Götterdämmerung at Paris Opera.
Rúni Brattaberg, a bass from the Faroe Islands, makes his Met debut as Titurel. He performs often with National Theater Mannheim, where he has sung Fafner in Das Rheingold and Siegfried, Hunding in Die Walküre, Hagen in Götterdämmerung, King Heinrich in Lohengrin, Gurnemanz in Parsifal, Pogner in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. His other engagements this season include Philip II inDon Carlo at the State Opera in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria; the Theater Manager and the Banker in Berg's Lulu at
La Monnaie in Brussels; and Baron Ochs in Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier in Cincinnati.
Scenic designer Michael Levine's previous Met credits include Robert Carsen's productions of Eugene Onegin and Boito'sMefistofele, and Anthony Minghella's staging of Puccini's Madama Butterfly. Costume designer Thibault Vancraenenbroeck's opera credits include Stéphane Braunschweig's production of Don Carlo, which opened La Scala's 2008-09 season. David Finn has designed lighting for numerous opera productions including the Canadian Opera Company's recent Ring cycle and the Royal Opera, Covent Garden's productions of Wagner's Der Fliegende Holländer and Tannhauser. Peter Flaherty's video designs for the stage includeSondheim on Sondheim for the Roundabout Theatre Company on Broadway; Girard's production of The Flight of Lindbergh and The Seven Deadly Sins; and Chen Shi-Zheng's My Life As a Fairy Tale at Lincoln Center Festival. Choreographer Carolyn Choa made her Met debut as associate director and choreographer for the 2006 new production of Madama Butterfly.
Asher Fisch will conduct the Parsifal performances on March 5 and 8. He has previously led Met performances of Lehar's The Merry Widow, Rigoletto, Madama Butterfly, and The Magic Flute. He is Principal Guest Conductor at Seattle Opera, where he will conduct three complete Ring cycles in August 2013.