Soprano Anna Netrebko joins the ranks of Renata Tebaldi, Montserrat Caballé and Renata Scotto, taking on — for the first time at the Met — the title role of the real-life French actress who dazzled 18th-century audiences with her on- and offstage passion.
The Metropolitan Opera broadcasts Live in HD Francesco Cilea’s “Adriana Lecouvreur” to Middlebury’s Town Hall Theater at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12, and rebroadcasts it to Rutland’s Paramount Theatre at 12:55 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 13. Estimated run time is three hours, 16 minutes with two intermissions.
The soprano is joined by tenor Piotr Beczała as Adriana’s lover, Maurizio. The principal cast also features mezzo-soprano Anita Rachvelishvili and baritone Ambrogio Maestri. Gianandrea Noseda conducts. Sir David McVicar’s staging, which sets the action in a working replica of a Baroque theater, premiered at the Royal Opera House in London, where the Guardian praised the “elegant production, sumptuously designed … The spectacle guarantees a good night out.”
“Adriana Lecouvreur” occupies a unique place in the repertory: largely dismissed by experts from its premiere to the present day yet cherished by its fans for the dramatic possibilities provided by the lead roles. The opera is a deft combination of frank emotionalism and flowing lyricism, with pseudo-historical spectacle. Based on a play by Eugène Scribe, the story was inspired by the real-life intrigues of famed actress Adrienne Lecouvreur and the legendary soldier — and lover — Maurice of Saxony. Cilea’s operatic retelling quickly became a favorite of charismatic soloists. The title character in particular is a quintessential diva role.
In Middlebury, a pre-performance talk at 12:15 p.m. will be given by Richard Marshak in the Studio downstairs.
Middlebury tickets are $24 (plus fees), $10 for students; call 802-382-9222, or go online to www.townhalltheater.org. Rutland tickets are $23, $10 for students; call 802-775-0570, or go online to www.paramountvt.org.