The first 2021 performance of the Met Stars Live in Concert series features soprano Sondra Radvanovsky and tenor Piotr Beczala, in the glorious setting of the Stadthalle Wuppertal, in Germany. They’ll be performing a selection of arias and duets from operas by Verdi, Dvořák, Giordano, Mascagni and Bernstein, accompanied by pianist Vincenzo Scalera.
American-Canadian soprano Sondra Radvanovsky is regarded as one of the foremost Verdi sopranos of her time, and one of the premiere interpreters of bel canto. Following a performance of Donizetti’s Andrea Chénier at the Royal Opera House in 2019, The Guardian wrote: “Sondra Radvanovsky’s Maddalena is the absolute stand-out, a creamy-toned lyric soprano with enough dramatic spinto in the voice to thrill as well as caress”.
Ms Radvanovsky has an impressive range of roles in her portfolio – from works such as Dvořák’s Rusalka and Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia, to Alfano’s Cyrano de Bergerac and Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, and has appeared in some of the major opera houses of the world, including The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, La Scala, Milan, the Vienna Staatsoper, the Lyric Opera in Chicago, and the War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco. Ms Radvanovsky also has the distinction of being one of the few singers of our time to have taken the roles of the ‘Three Donizetti Queens’ – the title roles in Anna Bolena and Maria Stuarda, and Elisabetta in Roberto Devereux – in the same season. A regular Metropolitan Opera guest performer, she has participated in the Met Live in HD series, streaming broadcasts of Verdi’s Il Trovatore and Bal masqué, and Roberto Devereux.
“Piotr Beczala has the kind of voice you want to hang medals on,” says Opera News, and – following a 2016 performance of Lucia di Lammermoor – The Chicago Tribune wrote: “Not since Luciano Pavarotti have I heard this aria, Fra poco a me ricovero, better sung. The house went wild at the end, and no wonder. Beczala defines the meaning of bel canto — beautiful singing.” A frequent guest on the stages of the world’s leading opera houses, this Polish tenor wins high praise from audiences and critics alike, not only for the beauty of his voice, but also for his commitment to every role he takes.
Mr Beczala is a regular guest at the Metropolitan Opera, having performed in a new production of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin opposite Anna Netrebko, the Prince in Dvorak’s Rusalka, Edgardo in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, and Rodolfo in Puccini’s La Bohème, as well as in the title roles of Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette and Faust. He has appeared with the Met on tour in Japan, and in 2012 made his role debut as Chevalier des Grieux in Laurent Pelly’s new production of Massenet’s Manon, with Anna Netrebko. This production was broadcast in cinemas worldwide as part of the Met’s Live in HD series, and also released on DVD, as was his portrayal of the Duke in a new production of Verdi’s Rigoletto, with Diana Damrau, in January 2013, for which he received the 2014 ECHO Klassik Award Singer of the Year.
This Saturday, Sondra Radvanovsky and Piotr Beczala appear live for the Metropolitan Opera in the magnificent Stadthalle Wuppertal. This elegant and very grand city hall was built in 1900 for the presentation of chamber concerts and the performing arts in general, and one of the conductors at the dazzling music festival to celebrate its opening was a young Richard Strauss. The Historische Stadthalle was renovated and rehabilitated between 1991 and 1995, and today boasts five different performance halls. French pianist Hélène Grimaud has described it as “an almost magical space for music”, and Sir Simon Rattle is of the opinion that “Accoustically, Wuppertal has one of the best concert halls in the world”.
This performance in the Metropolitan Opera’s Met Stars Live in Concert pay-per-view series can be viewed online on Saturday, 23rd January at 6.00 pm (GMT), 7.00 pm (CET) live from the Stadthalle Wuppertal. Tickets for each recital are $20 and can be purchased on the Met’s website. Performances will be available for on-demand viewing for 14 days following the live event.
The next artist to be featured in this series is soprano Anna Netrebko on 6th February, followed by soprano Sonya Yoncheva at Schussenried Cloister in southwest Germany, on 27th February, and soprano Angel Blue at a date to be announced.
Information sourced from:
Metropolitan Opera programme notes
Opéra de Paris (additional information on Ms Radvanovsky)