Dec. 14: Verdi’s Falstaff

Dec 12, 2013

A scene from Verdi's "Falstaff" with Ambrogio Maestri in the title role.
Credit Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera

The 2013-14 Metropolitan Opera Radio Broadcast season will continue with a live broadcast of Verdi’s Falstaff, conducted by Met Music Director James Levine at 12:00 p.m. CT, Saturday, December 14 on KLRE Classical 90.5.

Baritone Ambrogio Maestri, who has sung the title role at major opera houses around the world, stars in his first Met performances as Sir John Falstaff. The ensemble cast featured in Robert Carsen’s new production includes soprano Angela Meade as Alice Ford, mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe as the wily Mistress Quickly, soprano Lisette Oropesa as Nannetta, Italian tenor Paolo Fanale in his Met debut as Fenton, and baritone Franco Vassallo as Ford. Falstaff will be heard live over the Toll Brothers-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network at 12:00 p.m. CT on Saturday, December 14.

James Levine has led an unparalleled 2,447 Met performances over the course of his 42-year Met career, including almost 60 performances of Falstaff, more than any other conductor in company history. Among the many highlights of his work with the company are the first-ever Met performances of Verdi’s I Vespri Siciliani, I Lombardi and Stiffelio. He returned to the Met after a two-year absence in September 2013 to lead a critically acclaimed revival of Mozart’s Così fan tutte, which he will conduct again this spring, in addition to a revival of Berg’s Wozzeck.

Ambrogio Maestri has sung the title role in Falstaff in numerous high-profile productions, including the Royal Opera, Covent Garden and La Scala premieres of Carsen’s staging, as well as performances at the Munich Festival, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Vienna State Opera, Gran Teatre del Liceu, Teatro Regio in Parma, Paris Opera, Zurich Opera, and Salzburg Festival. He starred as Dulcamara in the new production of Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore that opened the 2012-13 Met season.

Angela Meade recently added the title role in Bellini’s Norma to her Met repertory. She came to public attention as a winner of the Met’s 2007 National Council Auditions and made her Met debut—as Elvira in Verdi’s Ernani—the following season. Her other roles with the company are Leonora in Verdi’s Il Trovatore, the title role in Donizetti’s Anna Bolena, and the Countess in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. This season’s performances mark her role debut as Alice Ford.

Stephanie Blythe, a graduate of the Met's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, has sung 27 roles at the Met including Fricka in Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen; the Verdi roles of Azucena in Il Trovatore, Amneris in Aida, and Ulrica in Un Ballo in Maschera; Eduige in Handel’s Rodelinda; Frugola, the Principessa, and Zita in Puccini’s Il Trittico; Ježibaba in Dvořák’s Rusalka; and Orfeo in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice. She has sung Mistress Quickly with Seattle Opera as well as at the Met in 2002 and 2005.

Lisette Oropesa, also a graduate of the Lindemann program, has sung more than 90 performances of 12 roles with the company, including Gilda in Verdi's Rigoletto; Miranda in the world premiere of the Baroque pastiche The Enchanted Island; Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro; Amore in Orfeo ed Euridice; and Lisette in the 2008 new production premiere of Puccini’s La Rondine. She has also sung Nannetta with San Francisco Opera and Bilbao Opera.

Paolo Fanale has sung Fenton at Paris Opera, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Opéra de Toulon, and Strasbourg Opera. His other roles this season include Gennaro in Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia and the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto (both at Teatro Verdi in Padua); Ferrando in Così fan tutte at the Bavarian State Opera; the title role in Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito at Teatro Comunale Luciano Pavarotti in Modena; and Hylas in Berlioz’s Les Troyens at La Scala.

Franco Vassallo’s Met roles have included di Luna in Il Trovatore, the title character in Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Riccardo in Bellini’s I Puritani, Belcore in L’Elisir d’Amore, and Ezio in Verdi’s Attila. Earlier this season, he sang Baron Valdeburgo in a new production of Bellini’s La Straniera at Zurich Opera. This spring, he sings Amonasro in Aida at the Berlin State Opera and the title role in Verdi’s Nabucco at Opera Geneva.

The single intermission will feature backstage interviews led by the Live in HD host, soprano Renée Fleming.