Opera Night Saturday 3 April 2021
Soprano Sondra Radvanovsky completes her season-long exploration of Donizetti’s three Tudor queen operas, starring as Elizabeth I in this final installment. David McVicar’s atmospheric Met premiere production frames the dramatic and heart-rending love story of the queen and the Earl of Essex as a play within a play unfolding before the members of the royal court. Radvanovsky’s portrayal of the aging monarch is a tour de force, laying bare the conflict between her public duties as ruler of England and her private feelings as a woman. Matthew Polenzani is the Earl of Essex, Roberto Devereux, the object of her affections who is torn between two women. Elina Garanca as Sarah and Mariusz Kwiecien as her husband, the Duke of Nottingham, complete the quartet of principals. Maurizio Benini conducts. (Sondra Radvanovsky and Matthew Polenzani in Donizetti's Roberto Devereux. Photo by Ken Howard, Metropolitan Opera.)
In the daunting title roles of the doomed lovers, Nina Stemme and Stuart Skelton (pictured) are passionate, overwhelming and heartbreaking, as they battle every obstacle that separates them from their true destiny. René Pape is King Marke, betrayed not only by Isolde but by Tristan, the man he most trusts and loves like a son. With Ekaterina Gubanova as Isolde’s confidante Brangäne and Evgeny Nikitin as Kurwenal, Tristan’s loyal lieutenant. Simon Rattle conducts a surging, shimmering account of Wagner’s monumental score.