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In New Year, Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi Returns to U.S. to Lead Company’s New Manon Lescaut and More

After a full fall lineup in Europe, Fabio Luisi returns to the U.S. for three productions at the Metropolitan Opera, where he is now in his fifth season as Principal Conductor. Besides taking the podium for all nine performances of Sir Richard Eyre’s hotly anticipated new production of Manon Lescaut, which stars Jonas Kaufmann and Kristine Opolais (Feb 12–March 11), he conducts Mikhail Petrenko, Isabel Leonard, and Luca Pisaroni in Eyre’s hit staging of Le nozze di Figaro (Feb 25–March 26), and reprises his acclaimed leadership of Sir David McVicar’s double-bill of Cavalleria rusticana and I Pagliacci (Jan 21–Feb 26). The Grammy Award-winning conductor also looks forward to two U.S. concert dates, undertaking an all-Russian program with Christian Tetzlaff and the Philadelphia Orchestra (Jan 7-9), and Brahms, Mozart, and Beethoven with the Juilliard Orchestra in New York (March 24).

Luisi has already proven himself in Puccini at the Met; as the New York Times recalls, “In Tosca he drew an electrifying performance from the orchestra and so palpably inspired the cast.” Finding that it is women who inspire opera’s most complex characters, the conductor is especially drawn to Manon Lescaut, which – based on a short 1731 novel by Abbé Prévost – is the tragic tale of a country girl who transforms herself into a Parisian temptress. As Luisi explains:

Manon Lescaut is Puccini’s first big opera, and though it is less familiar to audiences than the composer’s more famous works, it is no less compelling. The score is a wonder in terms of fantasy and in Puccini’s masterful treatment of the orchestra. Being fully versed in the European music of his time, Puccini draws from many influences, notably Debussy. It’s a truly demanding and complex work for the conductor, and I look forward to working with the superb Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and this fabulous cast to bring it to life.”

The Met’s new production launches with a special opening-night gala on February 12, and airs in The Met: Live in HD’s tenth anniversary season on March 5. Reuniting superstars Kristine Opolais and Jonas Kaufmann, who previously triumphed together in Puccini’s opera at Covent Garden and the Bavarian State Opera, Sir Richard Eyre’s film noir-inflected staging places the action in occupied France. Click here to see Eyre discuss the production in a Met preview video.

Luisi also takes the Met podium for two more complete runs. He brings his ebullient interpretation of The Marriage of Figaro to Eyre’s stylish 2014 production, which sets Mozart’s comedy of manners in 1930s Seville. And, in “Cav/Pag,” Luisi revisits one of his most recent Met successes; the premiere of Sir David McVicar’s take on Mascagni and Leoncavallo at the house last spring inspired a spate of positive press for the Principal Conductor’s musical direction. “This double bill certainly has the right maestro on the podium,” reported the New York Times, and New York magazine declared: “The most powerful reason to see this production is to hear the conductor Fabio Luisi.

Comparably distinguished in the concert hall, Luisi also looks forward to returning to the Philadelphia Orchestra, with which he made his successful debut four years ago, and to the Juilliard Orchestra, where his first appearance last year drew playing of such “shimmering halos and eager passion,” that it left the New York Times’ critic “with a grin that lingered.”

For high-resolution photos, click here.


Fabio Luisi: winter engagements

Jan 7, 8, & 9
Philadelphia, PA
Philadelphia Orchestra
Glinka: Overture to Ruslan and Lyudmila
Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto (with Christian Tetzlaff, violin)
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6, “Pathétique”

Jan 21, 25, 28; Feb 2, 6, 10, 13, 17, 20, 23, & 26
New York, NY
Metropolitan Opera
Mascagni: Cavalleria Rusticana / Leoncavallo: I Pagliacci

Feb 12, 15, 18, 24, 27; March 1, 5, 8, & 11
New York, NY
Metropolitan Opera
Puccini: Manon Lescaut (new production)
Opening-night gala: Feb 12
Transmission in The Met: Live in HD’s tenth anniversary season: March 5

Feb 25, 29; March 3, 7, 12, 16, 19, 22, & 26
New York, NY
Metropolitan Opera
Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro

March 24
New York, NY
Alice Tully Hall
Juilliard Orchestra
Brahms: Symphony No. 3 in F, Op. 90
Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K. 491 (soloist tbd)
Beethoven: Leonore Overture No. 3

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© 21C Media Group, December 2015

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