New York, NY (September 22, 2011) – The Met: Live in HD, the Metropolitan Opera’s award-winning series of live transmissions to movie theaters around the world, has expanded its worldwide distribution to 1,600 theaters in 54 countries, the largest global audience the initiative has ever reached. The newest countries to sign on for Live in HD transmissions include Russia, Israel, China, Cyprus, the Dominican Republic, Morocco, Slovenia, and the territory of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Last year, a record of more than 2.6 million Live in HD tickets were sold to opera lovers across the globe, effectively quadrupling the Met’s paying audience (approximately 800,000 people attend performances in the opera house in a Met season).
The sixth season of live transmissions begins October 15 with the Met premiere production of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena, featuring Anna Netrebko in the title role. She stars in the first transmission to be shown in her native country, joined by Russian colleagues Ekaterina Gubanova as Jane Seymour and Ildar Abdrazakov as Enrico (Henry VIII).
The opera, directed by David McVicar and conducted by Marco Armiliato, is based on the final, tragic days of Anne Boleyn and has been a dramatic and vocal showcase for some of the greatest sopranos in operatic history. In addition to Ms. Netrebko, the 2011-12 Live in HD season features many of the opera world’s most prominent stars, including Stephanie Blythe, David Daniels, Natalie Dessay, Joyce DiDonato, Plácido Domingo, Renée Fleming, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Jonas Kaufmann, Mariusz Kwiecien, René Pape, Marina Poplavskaya, Bryn Terfel, and Deborah Voigt.
The 2011-12 Live in HD season features 11 transmissions, which include a Met premiere, a world premiere, three new productions of repertory favorites, and the final two installments of a new Ring cycle. All 11 high-definition productions will be shown live worldwide on Saturdays. Most operas begin at 12:55 p.m EST, with some operas beginning earlier in the afternoon; exact starting times appear on the schedule below. The majority of encore presentations in the United States will be shown on Wednesdays, 18 days after the live exhibition. For complete information on locations and tickets, visit www.metopera.org/hdlive.
Joyce DiDonato, David Daniels, Plácido Domingo, Danielle de Niese, and Luca Pisaroni are among the stars of The Enchanted Island (Jan. 21), a world premiere work inspired by the musical pastiches and masques of the 18th century. Devised and written by Jeremy Sams with a story drawn from Shakespeare, The Enchanted Island showcases arias and ensembles by Handel, Vivaldi, Rameau, and others. William Christie conducts; the production is directed by Phelim McDermott.
Tony Award-winning directors Michael Grandage and Des McAnuff make their respective Met debuts with new productions of Mozart’s Don Giovanni (October 29) and Gounod’s Faust (December 10). Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi leads Don Giovanni, which stars Mariusz Kwiecien in his first Met performances of the title role opposite Barbara Frittoli, Ramón Vargas, Luca Pisaroni, and debuting sopranos Marina Rebeka and Mojca Erdmann. Jonas Kaufmann, Marina Poplavskaya, and René Pape take on the demanding leading roles of Faust, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
Netrebko sings her second title role this season in the new production of Massenet’s Manon (April 7), conducted by Luisi, directed by Laurent Pelly, and also starring Piotr Beczala and Paulo Szot.
Robert Lepage’s groundbreaking new staging of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen reaches its spectacular conclusion with new productions of Siegfried (November 5) conducted by Luisi and Götterdämmerung (February 11), conducted by Levine. Siegfried stars Deborah Voigt, Gary Lehman, Eric Owens, and Bryn Terfel; Voigt, Lehman, and Owens also star in Götterdämmerung.
Other highlights of the Live in HD season include Philip Glass’s Satyagraha, based on the life of Gandhi in an inspiring production by McDermott that stars Richard Croft (November 19); Renée Fleming in one of her greatest portrayals, the virtuosic title role of Handel’s Rodelinda (December 3), also starring Stephanie Blythe and Andreas Scholl; Verdi’s Ernani, starring rising soprano Angela Meade opposite experienced Verdians Marcello Giordani, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, and Ferruccio Furlanetto (February 25); and Natalie Dessay in her Met role debut as Violetta in Willy Decker’s production of Verdi’s La Traviata, also starring Matthew Polenzani and Hvorostovsky and conducted by Luisi. Complete casting and details of the season’s Live in HD performances follow below.
Natalie Dessay, Joyce DiDonato, Renée Fleming, Eric Owens, Patricia Racette, and Deborah Voigt will serve as hosts for the Live in HD presentations this season, conducting live interviews with cast, crew, and production teams, and introducing the popular behind-the-scenes interviews and features; altogether the worldwide HD audience will be given an unprecedented look at what goes into the staging of an opera at one of the world’s great houses.
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 HD broadcasts are supported by Toll Brothers, America’s luxury home builder®.