Puccini's Turandot will return to the Met tonight, September 26 with Maria Guleghina in the treacherous title role of a Chinese princess who has turned her back on love. Iréne Theorin takes the role in later performances. A trio of tenors-Marco Berti, Marcello Giordani, and Walter Fraccaro-sing Calàf, the hero who risks certain death to melt Turandot's heart.Hibla Gerzmava and Janai Brugger, in her Met debut, share the role of the pure-hearted slave girl Liù, and James Morris and Samuel Ramey sing Calàf's long-lost father, Timur. Dan Ettinger conducts all performances of the opera this season, which is the 25thanniversary of Franco Zeffirelli's lavish production.
Zeffirelli's production, a longtime audience favorite for its elaborate depiction of the opera's ancient Chinese setting, premiered in 1987 and has since been performed more than 100 times. Ettinger made his Met debut in 2009, leading Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro. He is the Music Director of the National Theater in Mannheim, Germany; the Chief Conductor of the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra; and the Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Israel Symphony Orchestra.
Guleghina sang her first Met Turandots in the 2009-10 season, a run of performances that included a worldwide transmission as part of The Met: Live in HD series. Her numerous Met appearances include the title role in Puccini's Tosca and Giorgietta in his Il Tabarro. Last season, she gave an acclaimed performance as Abigaille in Verdi's Nabucco. Theorin made her Met debut as Brünnhilde in Wagner's Die Walküre in the 2008-09 season and also sang the role in Siegfried. She has sung Turandot with San Francisco Opera; the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; the New National Theater in Tokyo; and Det Kongelige Teater in Copenhagen.
Berti made his Met debut in 2004 as Pinkerton in Puccini's Madama Butterfly. His roles at the Met have also included Don José in Bizet's Carmen, Radamès in Verdi's Aida, and Manrico in Verdi's Il Trovatore; he reprises the latter two roles at the Met this season. Giordani made his Met role debut as Calàf opposite Guleghina in 2009. He has starred in numerous leading roles at the Met, including the recent new production premieres of Madama Butterfly, Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor, and Berlioz's La Damnation de Faust. Later this season, he sings Aeneas in a revival of Berlioz's Le Troyens and Paolo in Zandonai's rarely performed Francesca da Rimini. Fraccaro made his Met debut as Pinkerton in 1997 and returned as Cavaradossi in Tosca in the 2006-07 season. Also this season, he sings Radamès at the San Diego Opera and Arena di Verona; Pinkerton with Nice Opera; and the title role in Verdi's Otello at the Teatro La Fenice in Venice.
Gerzmava made her Met debut as Antonia and Stella in Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann in the Met's 2010-11 season. Last fall, she sang her first Met performances as Mimì in Puccini's La Bohème. Brugger, a 2012 winner of the Met's National Council Auditions and the first place winner in the recent Operalia competition, will make her Met debut as Liù. Last season, she sang Musetta in Puccini'sLa Bohème with Los Angeles Opera and Juliette in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette with Palm Beach Opera.
Turandot Radio Broadcasts
The Turandot opening performance tonight, September 26 will be broadcast live on Metropolitan Opera Radio on SIRIUS XM Channel 74, as will the performances on October 3, November 2, and January 7. The October 3 performance will also be streamed live on the Met's website, www.metopera.org.