First-ever Met performances of Verdi’s Don Carlos in its original French version begin February 28
- Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts an all-star principal cast featuring Matthew Polenzani in the title role, alongside Sonya Yoncheva, Jamie Barton, Etienne Dupuis, Eric Owens, and John Relyea
- David McVicar’s new staging of the epic drama marks his 11th Met production
- On Saturday, March 26, live transmissions of Don Carlos will be presented in cinemas as part of The Met: Live in HD series and over the Toll Brothers–Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network
New York, NY (February 3, 2022)—For the first time in company history, the Metropolitan Opera will present the original five-act French version of Verdi’s Don Carlos, with eight performances February 28–March 26. Verdi’s epic opera about doomed love during the Spanish Inquisition first premiered in French at the Paris Opera in 1867. Verdi later translated the work to Italian with the more common Don Carlo, which has been a staple of the Met’s repertory. “The opera was composed in French, and that is evident in the way the words connect to the notes and the melodies,” says Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who will lead these performances and who previously conducted the Italian version at the Met in 2010.
The opera demands an exemplary sextet of principal artists, and David McVicar’s new staging, which marks his 11th Met production, features an all-star cast. Tenor Matthew Polenzani sings the title role, with soprano Sonya Yoncheva as Élisabeth de Valois and mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton as Eboli. Baritone Etienne Dupuis is Rodrigue, and bass-baritones Eric Owens and John Relyea are Philippe II and the Grand Inquisitor.
The creative team—comprising set designer Charles Edwards, costume designer Brigitte Reiffenstuel, lighting designer Adam Silverman, and movement director Leah Hausman—has crafted a vision that captures the struggle for freedom and light amid the darkness and oppression of Inquisition-era Spain.
Don Carlos Worldwide Broadcasts in Cinema, Radio, and Online
The performance of Don Carlos on Saturday, March 26, will be transmitted live to cinemas around the globe as part of The Met: Live in HD series and broadcast over the Toll Brothers–Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network.
Don Carlos Artist Biographies
The 2021–22 season marks Maestro Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s third season as the Met’s Jeanette Lerman-Neubauer Music Director. Since his 2009 Met debut with Carmen, he has led more than 100 performances of 13 operas. He has served as music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra since 2012 and artistic director and principal conductor of the Orchestre Métropolitain since 2000. In 2018, he became honorary conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, where he was music director for ten seasons, and in 2016, he was named an honorary member of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. Between 2008 and 2014, he was principal guest conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. He has also led operatic performances in Baden-Baden and at the Vienna State Opera, La Scala, Covent Garden, and Salzburg Festival. Also this season at the Met, he conducted the company premieres of Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones and Matthew Aucoin’s Eurydice, a revival of Tosca, Verdi’s Requiem, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, and in the spring, he leads a pair of concerts with the Met Orchestra at Carnegie Hall.
Swiss conductor Patrick Furrer returns to the Met after recently making his conducting debut with The Magic Flute in December 2021. He has led numerous new productions, including Hänsel und Gretel, Jonny Spielt Auf, Un Ballo in Maschera, Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, and The Merry Wives of Windsor in Innsbruck; L’Elisir d’Amore at the Vienna Volksoper; Die Fledermaus with the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts; and Béatrice et Bénédict at the Northwestern Bienen School of Music. He also conducted performances of Cosi fan tutte, Otello, Die Zauberflöte, and Werther in Innsbruck; Rigoletto in St. Gallen; Un Ballo in Maschera and Die Zauberflöte in Mannheim; Hänsel und Gretel in Nürnberg; and Les Contes d’Hoffmann in Zurich.
Don Carlos is the 11th production that David McVicar has directed at the Met. He made his Met debut with Il Trovatore during the 2008–09 season, followed by stagings of Adriana Lecouvreur, Tosca, Norma, Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci, and Giulio Cesare. He also directed the Met premieres of Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux, Maria Stuarda, and Anna Bolena and Handel’s Agrippina. His productions have appeared at many of the world’s most prestigious opera houses, including the Vienna State Opera, Glyndebourne Festival, San Francisco Opera, Salzburg Festival, St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre, English National Opera, and Lyric Opera of Chicago, among others. He was knighted in the 2012 Diamond Jubilee Honors List and also made Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government. This season, he also directs Macbeth at Lyric Opera of Chicago, La Calisto at La Scala, Die Zauberflöte in Barcelona, and Falstaff at the Santa Fe Opera, for which he also designs the sets and costumes.
British set designer Charles Edwards has designed many productions for the Met, beginning with his Met debut in Il Trovatore during the 2008–09 season. He also designed the sets for the new production of Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur, which opened on New Year’s Eve during the 2018–19 season. Notable design engagements include Lucia di Lammermoor, Norma, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Makropulos Case, Káťa Kabanová at English National Opera; Falstaff at the Vienna State Opera; and Adriana Lecouvreur, Faust, and Werther at Covent Garden. His designs have also been seen at Houston Grand Opera, the Dallas Opera, Long Beach Opera, and Lyric Opera of Chicago. This season, his sets for Adriana Lecouvreur will appear at La Scala and for La Gazza Ladra in Frankfurt.
German costume designer Brigitte Reiffenstuel has been designing for productions at the Met since her debut with David McVicar’s staging of Il Trovatore during the 2008–09 season. Since then, her designs have appeared at the Met in Giulio Cesare, Un Ballo in Maschera, Der Rosenkavalier, Adriana Lecouvreur, and Falstaff. Recent credits include Der Rosenkavalier at Covent Garden and Teatro Colon, La Rondine at Deutsche Oper Berlin and Oper Graz, The Queen of Spades in Zurich and Strasbourg; and Don Giovanni at La Scala. She was given the Oscar della Lirica for Achievement in Costume Design presented at the international Opera Awards and the Dora Mavor Moore Award for outstanding costume design in 2015.
British lighting designer Adam Silverman made his Met debut with Un Ballo in Maschera during the 2012–13 season, followed by Adriana Lecouvreur in the 2018–19 season. Notable design engagements include Gloriana for Teatro Real; Andrea Chénier and Lohengrin for Covent Garden; Otello, Billy Budd, Giulio Cesare, Peter Grimes, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Turn of the Screw, and Jenůfa for English National Opera; and Norma for Opera North. His work has also appeared at San Francisco Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Vienna State Opera, the Bregenz Festival, Dutch National Opera, Barcelona’s Liceu, the Bavarian State Opera, the Hamburg State Opera, and the Aix-en-Provence Festival. This season, his lighting designs for Adriana Lecouvreur will appear at La Scala and for Lohengrin at Covent Garden.
American movement director Leah Hausman has choreographed many productions at the Met, beginning with her Met debut with Il Trovatore during the 2008–09 season. Other Met credits include Maria Stuarda, Robert Devereux, Norma, and Tosca. Her most recent work includes Death in Venice for Covent Garden; Billy Budd and Rusalka for Lyric Opera of Chicago; Don Giovanni and Lohengrin for San Francisco Opera and Houston Grand Opera; The Rakes Progress for the Aix-en-Provence Festival and Dutch National Opera; Les Troyens for Covent Garden, La Scala, San Francisco Opera, and the Vienna State Opera; Benvenuto Cellini for the Paris Opera, English National Opera, Dutch National Opera, Barcelon’s Liceu, and the Rome Opera; and La Damnation de Faust for English National Opera, Palermo’s Teatro Massimo, and Staatsoper Berlin.
Bulgarian soprano Sonya Yoncheva makes her Met role debut as Élisabeth de Valois. Career highlights include most recently headlining a solo recital on the Met stage as well as new productions of Tosca and Otello, where she has also performed the title roles of Luisa Miller and Iolanta, Violetta in La Traviata, Mimì in La Bohème, and Gilda in Rigoletto; the title role of Norma, Violetta, Marguerite in Faust, Antonia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann, and Micaëla in Carmen at Covent Garden; Imogene in Il Pirata and Mimì at La Scala; Poppea in L’Incoronazione di Poppea at the Salzburg Festival; and new stagings of Médée and La Traviata at Staatsoper Berlin and of Don Carlos, La Bohème, and Iolanta at the Paris Opera, where she has also appeared in La Traviata and Lucia di Lammermoor. Upcoming engagements this season include her title-role debut in Anna Bolena at Paris’s Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and performances in La Gioconda and Fedora at La Scala, Iolanta at Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, and Norma at Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu, where she will also appear in a solo concert.
American mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton adds a new role to her Met repertory as Eboli, a role she has previously sung in Italian at Washington National Opera and Deutsche Oper Berlin. A winner of the Met’s National Council Auditions in 2007, she made her Met debut in 2009 as the Second Lady in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, followed by turns as Adalgisa in Bellini’s Norma, Giovanna Seymour in Donizetti’s Anna Bolena, Fenena in Verdi’s Nabucco, Ježibaba in Dvořák’s Rusalka, Fricka in Wagner’s Das Rheingold and Die Walküre, and Orfeo in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice. A recipient of the Met’s 2017 Beverly Sills Artist Award, the 2015 Richard Tucker Award, and the 2013 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World, she has also performed at San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, Bavarian State Opera, and the Teatro Real in Madrid, among many others.
American tenor Matthew Polenzani makes his Met role debut as Don Carlos. He has sung more than 400 performances of 40 roles with the company since his debut in 1997 as Boyar Kruschov in Boris Godunov. Other Met roles include Macduff in Macbeth, the Italian Singer in Der Rosenkavalier, Tito in La Clemenza di Tito, Nemorino in L’Elisir d’Amore, the title role of Idomeneo, Ferrando in Così fan tutte, Hoffmann in Les Contes d’Hoffmann, the Duke in Rigoletto, and role debuts as Nadir in the Met new-production premieres of Les Pêcheurs de Perles and in the title role of Roberto Devereux. He has appeared at most of the world’s greatest opera houses, including the Bavarian State Opera, Vienna State Opera, La Scala, Covent Garden, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Deutsche Opera Berlin, Salzburg Festival, and in Madrid, Palermo, Zurich, Frankfurt, Barcelona, Aix-en-Provence, Rome, and Florence, among many others. This season, he sings Alfredo in La Traviata at the Canadian Opera Company, the title role of Don Carlo at the Hungarian State Opera, and Cavaradossi Tosca at Savonlinna Opera Festival.
Canadian baritone Etienne Dupuis makes his Met role debut as Rodrigue. He made his Met debut in 2018 singing the role of Marcello in La Bohème, followed by Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro. Career highlights includes the title role of Don Giovanni, Rodrigo in Don Carlo, and Sgt. Belcore in Donizetti L’Elisir d’Amore at the Paris Opera; Valentin in Faust at Vienna State Opera; and the title role of Eugene Onegin at Deutsche Oper Berlin. This season, he also sings Don Giovanni at San Francisco Opera, the title role of Eugene Onegin in concert with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Marcello in La Bohème, and Albert in Werther at the Vienna State Opera.
American bass-baritone Eric Owens adds a new role to his Met repertory as Phillippe II. A winner of the Met’s National Council Auditions in 1996, he made his company debut in 2008 as General Leslie Groves in John Adams’s Doctor Atomic, followed by roles as Sarastro in The Magic Flute, Orest in Elektra, Jaufré Rudel in the Met premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s L’Amour de Loin, Vodník in Rusalka, the Voice of Neptune in Idomeneo, both Alberich and Hagen in the Ring cycle, and most recently Porgy in the Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess. Recent performances elsewhere include Wotan in Die Walküre in concert at Seattle Opera, Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte at the Glimmerglass Festival, Porgy at Dutch National Opera, Wotan in Siegfried and Die Walküre at Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Philip II in Don Carlo and Stephen Kumalo in Weill’s Lost in the Stars at Washington National Opera.
Canadian bass-baritone John Relyea makes his Met role debut as the Grand Inquisitor. He made his company debut in 2000 as Alidoro in La Cenerentola followed by performances as Masetto in Don Giovanni, Colline in La Bohème, the Nightwatchman in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Vodník in Rusalka, Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro, Escamillo in Carmen, and Gesler in Guillaume Tell. Recent performances include Gurnemanz in Parsifal in Palermo, Prince Gremin in Eugene Onegin in Rome, King Marke in Tristan und Isolde at the Glyndebourne Festival, and Creon in Oedipus Rex at LA Opera.
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