NEW YORK, May 23, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- One of the most popular and beloved operas of all time, Aida, in a spectacular staging that captures the grandeur of Ancient Egypt, comes to Great Performances at the MetSunday, June 9 at 12 noon on PBS (check local listings). In New York, THIRTEEN will broadcast the opera on Friday, June 21 at 9 p.m., with an encore showing Sunday, June 23 at 12:30 p.m.
More than 200 artists fill the Met stage for this performance of Verdi's tragedy, which sets a heartbreaking love triangle against the backdrop of an empire at war.
Ukrainian soprano Liudmyla Monastyrska made a spectacular Met debut as Aida, the enslaved Ethiopian princess, opposite two major Met stars: tenor Roberto Alagna as the war hero Radames and Olga Borodina as the pharaoh's daughter Amneris, Aida's formidable rival. George Gagnidze sings Amonasro, Aida's cunning father, and Stefan Kocan is the imposing Egyptian priest Ramfis. Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi conducts his first company performances of the opera.
"If you've ever wondered why they call it 'grand' opera, the magnificent Met Opera production of Verdi's Aida...can show you what the fuss is all about," declared Wilborn Hampton in the Huffington Post.
"Ms. Monastyrska is gifted with a luscious round soprano that maintains its glow even in the softest notes," observed Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim in The New York Times. "Her 'O patria mia' was beautifully drawn and colored with darker inflections that added dramatic intensity…the combined fervor of Olga Borodina as Amneris and Fabio Luisi at the helm of a fired-up orchestra made for an electrically charged and energetic performance."
Star soprano Renee Fleming hosts the broadcast and conducts backstage interviews with the cast.
Aida was originally seen live in movie theaters on December 15 as part of the groundbreaking The Met: Live in HD series, which transmits live performances to more than 1900 movie theaters and performing arts centers in 64 countries around the world.
Great Performances at the Met is a presentation of THIRTEEN for WNET, one of America's most prolific and respected public media providers. Throughout its 40 year history on public television, Great Performances has provided viewers across the country with an unparalleled showcase of the best in all genres of the performing arts, serving as America's most prestigious and enduring broadcaster of cultural programming. Now in its fifth decade, the series has been the home to the greatest artists in the areas of drama, dance, musical theater, classical and popular music, providing many with their very first television exposure.
Corporate support for Great Performances at the Met is provided by Toll Brothers, America's luxury home builder®. Additional funding is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. This Great Performances presentation is funded by the Sybil B. Harrington Endowment Fund, the Irene Diamond Fund, the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, The Agnes Varis Trust, and public television viewers.
For the Met, Gary Halvorson directs the telecast. Jay David Saks is Music Producer, Mia Bongiovanni and Elena Park are Supervising Producers, and Louisa Briccetti and Victoria Warivonchik are Producers. Peter Gelb is Executive Producer. For Great Performances, Bill O'Donnell is Series Producer; David Horn is Executive Producer.
Visit Great Performances online at www.pbs.org/gperf for additional information on this and other Great Performances programs.
In 2013, WNET is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of THIRTEEN, New York's flagship public media provider. As the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to over 5 million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, Need to Know, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children's programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state's unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJ Today and MetroFocus, the multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. WNET is also a leader in connecting with viewers on emerging platforms, including the THIRTEEN Explore iPad App where users can stream PBS content for free.
About the Met
Under the leadership of General Manager Peter Gelb and Music Director James Levine, the Met has a series of bold initiatives underway that are designed to broaden its audience and revitalize the company's repertory. The Met's 2012-13 season features seven new productions, including Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore, directed by Bartlett Sher and conducted by Maurizio Benini; the Met premiere of Thomas Ades's The Tempest, directed by Robert Lepage and conducted by the composer; Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera, directed by David Alden and conducted by Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi; the Met premiere of Donizetti's Maria Stuarda, directed by David McVicar and conducted by Benini; Verdi's Rigoletto, directed by Michael Mayer in his Met debut and conducted by Michele Mariotti; Wagner's Parsifal, directed by Francois Girard in his Met debut and conducted by Daniele Gatti; and Handel's Giulio Cesare, also directed by David McVicar and conducted by Harry Bicket.
Building on its 81-year-old radio broadcast history—heard over the Toll Brothers-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network—the Met uses advanced media distribution platforms and state-of-the-art technology to reach audiences around the world. The Met: Live in HD, the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning series of live performance transmissions to movie theaters around the world, returns for its seventh season in 2012-13. Met Player, a subscription service makes much of its extensive video and audio catalog of full-length performances available to the public for the first time online, and in exceptional, state-of-the-art quality. Metropolitan Opera Radio on SIRIUS XM broadcasts live performances from the Met stage three times a week during the opera season, as well; the Met on Rhapsody on-demand service offers audio recordings; and the Met presents free live audio streaming of performances on its website once every week during the opera season.
The Met has launched several audience development initiatives, including Open House dress rehearsals, a popular rush ticket program, Gallery Met, and an annual Holiday Series presentation for families. For more information, please visit: www.metopera.org.
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- Fabio Luisi