2012-13 Season Opens With a New Production of L’Elisir d’Amore

September 10, 2012

Bartlett Sher's new staging of Donizetti’s comic opera opens September 24, starring Anna Netrebko and Matthew Polenzani 

Maurizio Benini conducts a cast that also features
Mariusz Kwiecien and Ambrogio Maestri

 The opening night performance will again be transmitted live to Times Square and Lincoln Center’s Josie Robertson Plaza,
and broadcast on Metropolitan Opera Radio on SIRIUS XM

A worldwide cinema transmission on October 13 will launch
 the new season of The Met: Live in HD series


New York, NY (September 10, 2012) – The Metropolitan Opera will open its 2012-13 season on September 24 at 7:00 p.m. with a new production of Donizetti’s delightful comic gem L’Elisir d’Amore, starring Russian diva Anna Netrebko—in her second consecutive Met opening night—as the irresistible heroine Adina. Matthew Polenzani sings the role of the lovelorn peasant Nemorino, Mariusz Kwiecien sings Sergeant Belcore, his romantic rival, and Ambrogio Maestri is the potion-peddling Doctor Dulcamara in Bartlett Sher’s new staging of the classic love story, which will be conducted by Maurizio Benini. The principal singers and conductor will return to reprise the opera this January and February, with Netrebko’s offstage partner Erwin Schrott replacing Maestri in the role of Dulcamara.

Although L’Elisir d’Amore is one of the most popular comic operas in the repertory, it has never before been performed on the Met’s opening night.  

Bartlett Sher has directed three previous productions at the Met: Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia (2006), Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann (2009), and Rossini’s Le Comte Ory (2011). Le Comte Ory will be revived at the Met this spring and Il Barbiere di Siviglia will be restaged in an abridged, English-language version that will open in December and play throughout the holiday season. Sher is also a Tony Award-winning stage director whose Broadway credits include South Pacific and The Light in the Piazza.

This season’s performances will be Anna Netrebko’s Met role debut as Adina, though she sang a portion of the opera in a 2006 Met gala and has performed the role to acclaim at the Mariinsky Theatre, Paris Opera, Vienna State Opera, and Bavarian State Opera in Munich. Netrebko opened the Met’s 2011-12 season with a celebrated performance in the fiery title role of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena and returned in the spring as the title character in a new production of Massenet’s Manon. Her more than 100 Met performances also include Norina in Donizetti’s Don Pasquale and the title role in his Lucia di Lammermoor; Antonia and Stella in Sher’s production of Les Contes d’Hoffmann; Musetta and Mimì in Puccini’s La Bohème; Juliette in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette; Elvira in Bellini’s I Puritani; Gilda in Verdi’s Rigoletto; Donna Anna and Zerlina in Mozart’s Don Giovanni; and, for her Met debut in 2002, Natasha Rostova in Prokofiev’s War and Peace.

Matthew Polenzani also makes his Met role debut in this season’s performances of L’Elisir d’Amore. In 2010, he sang Nemorino to Netrebko’s Adina at the Bavarian State Opera. He has sung more than 250 performances in 29 roles at the Met. In recent seasons, his starring roles have included Alfredo in the new production premiere of Verdi’s La Traviata (2010), Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, Ernesto in Don Pasquale, Tamino in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Belmonte in Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail, and Roméo in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette. He has starred opposite Netrebko in Met performances of Don Giovanni, Don Pasquale, and Roméo et Juliette.

Mariusz Kwiecien made his Met role debut as Belcore last season in a revival of L’Elisir d’Amore. His more than 150 Met performances include four roles in new production premieres: the title character in Don Giovanni (2011), Escamillo in Carmen (2009), Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor (2007), and Dr. Malatesta in Don Pasquale (2006). He starred opposite Netrebko and Polenzani in a 2010 revival of Don Pasquale that was transmitted worldwide as part of the Met’s Live in HD series. Kwiecien made his Met debut as Kuligin in a 1999 revival of Janáček’s Kát’a Kabanová and has also appeared in a variety of other roles, most frequently Marcello in La Bohème, Count Almaviva in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, and Guglielmo in Mozart’s Cosí fan tutte.

Ambrogio Maestri made his Met debut as Amonasro in Verdi’s Aida in 2004 and returned in 2006 as Alfio in Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana. In recent years, the Italian baritone has become one of the opera world’s leading stars in the buffo repertory, singing Dulcamara at the Bavarian State Opera, Vienna State Opera, Munich Opera Festival, and Teatro alla Scala in Milan and the title character in Verdi’s Falstaff in Berlin, Munich, Dresden, Vienna, Barcelona, Parma, Verona, and, last season, in a new production at London’s Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Last fall, he gave an acclaimed performance as Michonnet in the Opera Orchestra of New York’s concert presentation of Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur. Later this season, he sings Dulcamara at Covent Garden and the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona; Falstaff at La Scala and the Paris and Zurich Operas; and the title role in Verdi’s Nabucco at La Scala.

Erwin Schrott has recently sung Dulcamara at the Mariinsky Theatre; the Teatro Pezzurelli in Bari, Italy; and the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia, Spain. Also this season, he sings Dulcamara at the Vienna State Opera and the Bavarian State Opera. At the Met, he has sung the title roles of Don Giovanni and Le Nozze di Figaro, Colline in La Bohème, and Escamillo in Bizet’s Carmen. This November, he will make his Met role debut as Leporello in Don Giovanni.

Benini made his Met debut leading L’Elisir d’Amore in 1998 and also directed a 2009 revival of the opera. This season at the Met, he leads the first-ever Met performances of Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda, which opens in a new production by David McVicar on New Year’s Eve, and a revival of Le Comte Ory. His previous Met performances include the Met premiere of Le Comte Ory and the new production premiere of Il Barbiere di Siviglia, both directed by Sher; the new production premiere of Don Pasquale; and performances of Verdi’s Rigoletto, La Traviata, and Luisa Miller, Rossini’s La Cenerentola, Gounod’s Faust, and Bellini’s Norma.

The design team for L’Elisir d’Amore features two of the artists who designed Sher’s previous Met productions, scenic designer Michael Yeargan and costume designer Catherine Zuber, as well as acclaimed lighting designer Jennifer Tipton. Yeargan designed sets and costumes for the Met’s current productions of Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos, Mozart’s Così fan tutte, and Floyd’s Susannah, and sets for Verdi’s Otello, Harbison’s The Great Gatsby, and Sher’s productions of Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Les Contes d’Hoffmann, and Le Comte Ory. His 20 Broadway credits include two Tony Award-winning scenic designs, for South Pacific and The Light in the Piazza. Zuber, a five-time Tony Award winner for her work on Broadway, made her Met debut designing Il Barbiere di Siviglia and, in addition to Les Contes d’Hoffmann and Le Comte Ory, designed costumes for the Met premiere of Adams’s Doctor Atomic. Tipton, whose honors include two Tony Awards (for The Cherry Orchard and Jerome Robbins’ Broadway) and a MacArthur “Genius” Grant, designed the lighting for the current Met stagings of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, and Verdi’s Il Trovatore, as well as the upcoming Maria Stuarda.

This production of L’Elisir d’Amore was made possible by a generous gift from The Monteforte Foundation, in honor of Wim Kooyker. The Metropolitan Opera is grateful to Deutsche Bank for underwriting the Opening Night Gala for the twelfth consecutive year. Additional funding for the Opening Night Gala is provided by Manhattan Jaguar.


Live Opening Night Screenings at Lincoln Center and in Times Square

In keeping with a tradition begun on Opening Night in 2006, this year’s L’Elisir d’Amore premiere will be transmitted live to numerous large screens on Lincoln Center’s Josie Robertson Plaza and in Times Square. Attendance is free at both locations. The Lincoln Center plazacast will accommodate more than 2,000 audience members; free tickets, with a limit of two per person, will be distributed at the Met box office beginning Sunday, September 23, at noon.

The Times Square relay of the Opening Night Gala is presented in cooperation with the City of New York and the Times Square Alliance.   Approximately 1,500 seats will be available on a first-come first-served basis in Times Square with additional standing room viewing available.  Seating this year is moving to Duffy Square between 46th and 47th Street as a result of ongoing construction in Times Square below 45th Street.   Participating giant screens in Times Square include the ABC Super Sign, American Eagle Times Square, Bank of America Times Square, City Outdoor, MTV 44 ½, Thomson Reuters/NASDAQ, News Corporation-Sony Times Square, and Toshiba Vision Times Square.

Additional standing room viewing will be available at both locations. Soprano Deborah Voigt, who stars in this season’s performances of Berlioz’s Les Troyens and Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, will host the opening night pre-show and intermission interviews.

The live opening night transmissions of L'Elisir d'Amore are made possible through funding from Bloomberg and the Metropolitan Opera Guild. This program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.


L’Elisir d’Amore Special Events

On September 18 at 6:30 pm, MetTalks, the Met’s series of new production panels, will begin its new season with a discussion of L’Elisir d’Amore. The stars and production team will discuss the creation of this production in the Met auditorium. Tickets will be made available through the Met Guild at $20 for the general public, $15 for Met Subscribers, and $10 for Guild Members and Young Associates. MetTalks are free to all Met Patrons. To purchase tickets, call 212-769-7028 or visit Patrons may call 212-870-4502 to reserve tickets to MetTalks.

The Met’s seventh season of free Open Houses begins on September 20 with the final dress rehearsal of L’Elisir d’Amore. Information on ticket distribution for this event will be available on the Met’s website at a later date.


L’Elisir d’Amore Live in HD and on the Radio

L’Elisir d’Amore kicks off the seventh season of The Met: Live in HD series when it is transmitted live to movie theaters around the world on October 13, hosted by Deborah Voigt. Since the series launched in 2006, more than 10 million tickets have been sold to opera lovers worldwide. The Met: Live in HD is now seen in more than 1,900 theaters in 60 countries around the world.

The Met: Live in HD series is made possible by a generous grant from its founding sponsor, The Neubauer Family Foundation. Global corporate sponsorship of The Met: Live in HD is provided by Bloomberg. Transmission of The Met: Live in HD in Canada is made possible thanks to the generosity of Jacqueline and Paul G. Desmarais Sr.

The L’Elisir d’Amore premiere on September 24 will be broadcast live on Metropolitan Opera Radio on SIRIUS XM Channel 74, as will the performances on October 1 and 10, January 30, and February 9. The opening performance will also be streamed live on the Met’s website,

The February 9 matinee will be broadcast live over the Toll Brothers-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network.

The 2012-13 Metropolitan Opera broadcast season is sponsored by Toll Brothers, America’s luxury home builder, with generous long-term support from The Annenberg Foundation, the Neubauer Family Foundation, the Vincent A. Stabile Endowment for Broadcast Media, and through contributions from listeners worldwide.

Bank of America is the proud sponsor of The Met: HD Live in Schools, a national program that provides students, teachers, and administrators with educational resources tied to select live transmissions of The Met: Live in HD.