Tony Award-winning director Bartlett Sher’s new production of Offenbach’s Les contes d’Hoffmann, starring Anna Netrebko as Antonia and Joseph Calleja in the title role, begins its run at the Metropolitan Opera on December 3, 2009. Before taking the stage at the Met, however, Netrebko will make a special appearance across Lincoln Center Plaza at Avery Fisher Hall, in this year’s Richard Tucker Music Foundation Gala. The November 22 gala will mark the Russian soprano’s debut in the venue and will be the first time she has performed at the foundation’s annual event, which features many of the world’s leading singers.
When Anna Netrebko sang Antonia at the Mariinsky Theatre, a critic for the St. Petersburg Times wrote: “Her captivating performance was the genuine highlight of the production. Her tormented Antonia, suffering over the paths she had to choose, was pierced with despair.” The Russian soprano returns to the Met for the first time this season for Sher’s new production of Hoffmann, in which she will give her first New York performances as Antonia. Besides Calleja as Hoffmann, Netrebko’s other castmates will include rising-star mezzo Kate Lindsey as Nicklausse and Alan Held as the four villains. Metropolitan Opera Artistic Director James Levine will conduct the first five performances of the nine-performance run, which goes through January 2. Audiences worldwide will be able to see Netrebko as the young Antonia, thanks to the The Met: Live In HD movie theater broadcast of the matinee performance on December 19.
The Met recently announced that the final dress rehearsal of Les contes d’Hoffmann on November 30 will be made open to the public. Approximately 3,000 free tickets are being given away through an online ticket drawing at www.metopera.org. Entries are no longer being accepted, but those who entered will find out if they’ve won by going to the Met’s website after November 19. Visit www.metopera.org for more information.