Greenbrier Valley Theatre (GVT), partnering with The Met: Live in HD, will present the premiere of Gioacchino Rossini’s La Donna del Lago, Saturday, Mar. 14 at 12:55 p.m. The broadcast will run approximately 3 hours 30 minutes with one intermission. A complimentary lecture by Dr. James Caplinger from the University of Charleston will start at 12:15 p.m. Tickets are $18 for adults, $12 for seniors and $10 for students. For tickets, call the GVT Box Office at 304-645-3838 or visit www.gvtheatre.org.
Bel canto superstars Joyce DiDonato and Juan Diego Flórez join forces for this Rossini showcase of vocal virtuosity, set in the medieval Scottish highlands and based on a beloved novel by Sir Walter Scott. DiDonato sings the title role of Elena, the lady of the lake, who is pursued by two men, with Flórez in his fifth Live in HD bel canto role as Giacomo, the benevolent king of Scotland. Michele Mariotti, last featured in the popular Live in HD broadcast of Rigoletto, conducts debuting Scottish director Paul Curran’s staging, a co-production with Santa Fe Opera. The cast also includes Daniela Barcellona in the trouser role of Malcolm, John Osborn as Rodrigo, and Oren Gradus as Duglas.
“The wondrous Ms. DiDonato and Mr. Mariotti, the fast-rising young Italian conductor, seemed almost in competition to see who could make music with more delicacy. Ms. DiDonato sang Rossini’s beguiling phrases with soft yet penetrating richness, subtly folding ornaments and runs into the long melodic arcs. And Mr. Mariotti drew hushed gentle and transparent playing from the inspired Met orchestra. Mr. Flórez makes a youthful, charming and impassioned king. Vocally he was at his best… He tossed off runs and roulades effortlessly and dispatched exciting high notes.” —The New York Times
La Donna del Lago was the first opera by a major composer to be based on the work of Sir Walter Scott and is a prime example of the fascination that Scottish settings held for the nascent Romantic movement in Europe. Taking advantage of the early-19th-century craze for Scott’s novel that had swept the continent, Rossini composed La Donna del Lago in 1819 for an ensemble of highly virtuosic singers at Naples’s San Carlo Theatre who inspired some of his most dauntingly florid music.
Though it was first performed in Naples in 1819, La Donna del Lago has never been performed before at the Met. However, its popularity in the early 19th century was such that it was performed in New York as early as 1829 at the Park Theater.