In the third presentation of its Verdi Week, the Metropolitan Opera streams a performance of Luisa Miller, first broadcast on April 14, 2018, as part of the company’s Live in HD series of cinema transmissions.
This online performance stars Bulgarian soprano Sonya Yoncheva in the title role, with Polish tenor Piotr Beczala as Luisa’s beloved Rodolfo, in what Operawire describes as “An Unquestioned Triumph for Yoncheva and Beczala”. Plácido Domingo is Luisa’s father, Alexander Vinogradov is the duplicitous Count Walter and Dmitry Belosselskiy is Wurm, his steward.
Luisa Miller was really something of an afterthought for Verdi. In 1848, he was under contract to Teatro San Carlo in Naples to produce an opera, but his initial proposal was rejected, and having failed to negotiate his way out of the contract, Verdi persuaded his librettist, Salvadore Cammarano, to produce “a brief drama with plenty of interest, action and above all feeling – which would make it easier to set to music”. This Cammarano did, basing his libretto on Friederich Schiller’s tragic play Kabale und Liebe (Intrigue and Love), and the opera premiered in Naples on December 8, 1849.
Set in 19th century England, this story of love, deception, drama and tragedy tells of Luisa, a young village girl, who is in love with a man she knows as Carlo, but who is in fact the debonair nobleman Rodolfo, son of Count Walter. Her father has another prospective husband in mind for her, just as Walter has a different potential bride lined up for Rodolfo, and the Count, together with his scheming steward, Wurm, is determined to prevent the two young lovers from marrying. Treachery and intrigue abound, and Luisa ultimately has to make the agonizing choice between her father and the man with whom she is in love.
The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus are led by Bertrand de Billy, celebrated French conductor of opera and concerts worldwide.
This presentation is available to view on the Metropolitan Opera website from 7.30 pm EDT on Wednesday, August 26, until 6.30 pm EDT on Thursday, August 27.
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