Renee Fleming returns to her acclaimed turn in Dvorak's Fairy Tale Rusalka. Piotr Beczala, Dolora Zajick and Emily Magee round out the cast in Otto Schenk's classic production.
Otto Schenk's traditional production returns to the Met stage for its last run. The stage is lavish in its sets and costumes and has been called a storybook tableau. While audiences love the detail and beauty, critics have dismissed it as a literal and over the top. However some have hailed it as stunning and mesmerizing. One critic stated, "The scenery was quite simply stunning. Acts I and III achieved the glittering lake surrounded by a forest with more realism than I had imagined possible in an opera house. Lighting by Gil Weshler made a huge contribution to this, giving the night an ethereal beauty but also effectively providing the moon when called for, and a seamless transition to daylight. " Whether the production is love or hated it will definitely benefit from an HD to preserve the grandiosity of the Met.
Renee Fleming has long been regarded as the greatest Rusalka of our time. She first brought the role to the Met in 1997 and later reprised it in 2004. Her latest interpretation came in 2009 and was once again phrased for her lyricism. Critics stated, "Fleming sang with commitment and consummate musicianship." Of her song to the moon they said, " remarkable for pliant phrasing and beautifully finished lines that demonstrated her magnificent breath control." The Met's latest run will present the opera in HD and will finally preserve Fleming's powerful interpretation.
Piotr Beczala makes yet another Met role debut. In the last few year the polish tenor has become one of the Met's most imporatnt assets. He has sang a range of lyric roles and starred in a number of HD performances. Beczala brings his acclaimed interpretation of the Prince which he debuted in Salzburg. The tenor was praised for his "clear, ringy lyric tenor" and critics went as far as stating that his voice was "ideal for the Prince." The casting of Beczala is one of the strangest in years as many dramatic spinto tenors such as Aleksandrs Antonenko and Ben Heppner have taken on the role. Nevertheless a different type of voice may add something new to the role.
Dolora Zajick returns to her acclaimed interpretation as Jezibaba. The mezzo soprano now in her late year career is still a force of nature with her powerful voice and beaming high notes. Last year she sang one of the most incredible Azucena's of her career and stole the show in her brief but crucial role as Ulrica. Zajick last performed the Jezibaba in 2004 and was praised for her power. Critics stated "the powerful mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick as the hardy and unabashedly coarse Jezibaba. Ms. Zajick seemed to relish the chance to toss food scraps and spit on the Met stage." They also said,"Her witch not only spits on the stage, but possesses a truly supernatural voice, one that seemed almost too large for the cavernous hall." Seeing Zajick back in the role will truly be a pleasure to see.
Foreign Princess/Water Goblin
Rounding out the cast is Emily Magee and John Relyea. Magee is making her Met debut in the role of the foreign princess and it is one of the most antipated of the year. Magee has been singing leading roles throughout Europe. She recently sang Ariadne auf Naxos at Salzburg with Jonas Kaufmann and is most famous for her DVD appearance in Tosca from Zurich. Relyea returns to the Met after a few years of absence.The bass is one of the most reliable assets to the company and is sure to make a favorable goblin.