Casting Update News
Jonas Kaufmann has canceled his performances in this season’s new production of Puccini’s Manon Lescaut due to illness.
Star tenor Roberto Alagna—currently at the Met giving an acclaimed performance of Canio in Pagliacci—will sing his first-ever performances of des Grieux in Manon Lescaut, replacing Kaufmann. To allow time for him learn the staging before the February 12 new production premiere, Alagna must withdraw from his remaining performances as Canio as he undertakes this new challenge. The French tenor, who has sung more than 100 Met performances since 1996, learned the role of des Grieux for a 2006 series of performances that were canceled, meaning that this season’s Met performances are the first time he will ever sing the part onstage.
Marco Berti, currently starring at the Met as Calàf in Puccini’s Turandot, will replace Alagna as Canio in the remaining performances of Pagliacci. These performances will be Berti’s Met role debut as Canio.
The new production of Manon Lescaut, conducted by Fabio Luisi and directed by Sir Richard Eyre, premieres February 12 and will run for nine performances through March 11. Kristine Opolais stars in the title role, with Massimo Cavalletti as Lescaut and Brindley Sherratt as Geronte. The March 5 matinee will be transmitted live as part of the Met’s Live in HD series, which reaches more than 2,000 movie theaters in 70 countries around the world.
Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci, also conducted by Luisi, has nine remaining performances, through February 26. The cast for Cavalleria Rusticana features Violeta Urmana and Liudmyla Monastyrska as Santuzza, Yonghoon Lee and Ricardo Tamura as Turiddu, and Ambrogio Maestri as Alfio. Pagliacci also features Barbara Frittoli as Nedda, George Gagnidze as Tonio, and Alexey Lavrov and Rodion Pogossov as Silvio.
Roberto Alagna made his Met debut as Rodolfo in Puccini’s La Bohème in 1996. Since then, he has sung twelve other roles with the company including Don José in Carmen, Cavaradossi in Tosca, Radamès in Aida, and the title characters in Gounod’s Faust and Massenet’s Werther. Later this Met season, Alagna will sing the role of Pinkerton in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly.
Marco Berti is currently starring as Calàf in Turandot at the Met, a role he first sang with the company in 2012 and has subsequently sung at many other opera houses including the Berlin State Opera, La Scala, and San Francisco Opera. His other roles at the Met have included Radamès in Aida, Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Don José in Carmen, and Manrico in Il Trovatore.