The Metropolitan Opera continues its nightly free opera streams this week with a series of operas which featured performances by the late Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky – a beloved figure at the Met and acknowledged as one of the world’s most extraordinary operatic artists – who died of brain cancer in 2017 at the tragically young age of 55.
This charismatic star – he of the “richly burnished baritone” (The Guardian) – made his Met debut in the role of Yeletsky in the Elijah Moshinsky production of Tchaikovsky’s Queen of Spades in 1995, six years after winning the 1989 Cardiff Singer of the World competition. A hugely popular performer, Hvorostosky went on to win numerous accolades during his wide-ranging career, making more than 180 appearances for the Met over 20 years, and appearing on the stages of some of the world’s major opera companies – La Scala, Milan, Vienna State Opera, Bavarian State Opera, Paris Opéra and Lyric Opera of Chicago. He specialised not only in the repertoire of his native Russia, but also in Verdi roles.
Hvorostovsky regularly appeared in concert as well, working with conductors of the calibre of Claudio Abbado, Valery Gergiev, Bernard Haitink, James Levine, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta and Yuri Temirkanov, and in recital with pianist Ivari Ilja. His recordings included CDs of Russian songs, and he appeared on DVD with Renée Fleming in Il trovatore, and with Anna Netrebko in the Live from Red Square concert in Moscow.
Dmitri Hvorostovsky was described by Peter Gelb, General Manager of the Met, as “…. one of opera’s all-time greats”, with “…. an electrifying stage presence and a charisma that won over both his adoring audiences and his devoted colleagues”.
Dmitri Hvorostovsky Week at the Met opens on Monday, February 22nd, with Verdi’s Il trovatore from April 30th, 2011. Starring Sondra Radvanovsky, Dolora Zajick, Marcelo Álvarez, this production by Sir David McVicar was conducted by Marco Armiliato.
Tuesday’s opera is Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades – a telecast streamed for the first time by the Met – starring Galina Gorchakova, Elisabeth Söderström, Plácido Domingo and Nikolai Putilin. Conducted by Valery Gergiev, this performance from April 15th, 1999, was produced by Elijah Moshinsky.
Hvorostovosky stars in another Tchaikovsky opera on Wednesday – Eugene Onegin – with Renée Fleming and Ramón Vargas. Also conducted by Valery Gergiev, this performance – from February 24th, 2007 – was produced by Robert Carsen.
Thursday, February 25th sees the transmission of the first of four Verdi operas – Ernani – which was recorded on this day in 2012. Hvorostovsky starred alongside Angela Meade, Marcello Giordani and Ferruccio Furlanetto. Produced by Pier Luigi Samaritani, the performance was conducted by Marco Armiliato.
Verdi’s La traviata will be streamed on Friday, February 26th. This performance – from April 14th, 2012 – starred Hvorostovsky with Natalie Dessay and Matthew Polenzani. It was conducted by Fabio Luisi, with production by Willy Decker.
Saturday’s production is Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera, in which Hvorostovsky starred alongside Sondra Radvanovsky, Kathleen Kim, Stephanie Blythe and Marcelo Álvarez. Conducted by Fabio Luisi, this performance was produced by David Alden, and recorded on December 8th, 2012.
The final performance in this week-long tribute to Dmitri Hvorostovsky, on Sunday, February 28th, is another performance of Verdi’s Il trovatore – this time recorded on October 3rd, 2015. Starring Anna Netrebko, Dolora Zajick and Yonghoon Lee, it was conducted by Marco Armiliato, with production by Sir David McVicar.
The Nightly Metropolitan Opera Streams are available to watch, free of charge, on the Metropolitan Opera website. Each stream becomes available at 7:30 pm (ET) and remains accessible for on-demand viewing until 6:30 pm (ET) the following day, with the exception of the February 26th stream of La traviata, which will be available until February 27 at 12.00 pm (ET). The February 27th stream of Un ballo in maschera will begin at the normally scheduled time of 7:30 pm ET.
Information sourced from:
Metropolitan Opera programme notes