Rossini's Armida premieres April 12th at the Met with Renée Fleming
Rossini's Armida is the Metropolitan Opera’s final new production of the season. Six tenors perform opposite Renée Fleming’s eponymous heroine in this rarely-staged opera, which premieres at the Met on April 12. Never previously staged at the Met, Armida opens with Fleming in the title role, Riccardo Frizza conducting, and Mary Zimmerman returning to direct, bringing her fine-tuned theatricality to a work she describes as “a buried treasure, a box of jewels.” The fanciful story of a sorceress who enthralls men in an island prison of sensual delights, Zimmerman says, “has an epic, enchanted quality and a tremendous visual element.” It takes a sextet of tenors to counterbalance a prima donna as powerful as Armida, and, in “Six of One,” Jennifer Melick examines the distinctive musical and dramatic qualities that characterize the legendary enchantress’s multiple foils. The Met’s current contenders, led by modern virtuoso Lawrence Brownlee as Rinaldo, share thoughts on their respective roles with Scott Barnes, in Opera News’s April cover story. Also noteworthy as Rossini’s sole foray into the realm of the supernatural, Armida brought out otherworldly colors and textures that the bel canto maestro had never used before.