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Juan Diego Florez, Diana Damrau, and Joyce DiDonato Star in the Metropolitan Opera’s Comic Hit Le Comte Ory on THIRTEEN’s Great Performances at the Met Sunday, July 24 at 12 p.m. ET on PBS

June 29, 2011

Rossini’s opera, hosted by Renee Fleming, premieres in New York Thursday, July 21 at 8 p.m. on THIRTEEN

NEW YORK, June 29, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — A trio of bel canto stars–Juan Diego Florez, Diana Damrau, and Joyce DiDonato–headline the Met’s first-ever production of Le Comte Ory, Rossini’s final comic masterpiece. Bartlett Sher’s hit production will air on Great Performances at the Met Sunday, July 24 at 12 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings). In New York, THIRTEEN will premiere the production on Thursday, July 21 at 8 p.m., with an encore presentation Sunday, July 24 at 12:30 p.m. as part of SundayArts.

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The telecast was originally seen live in movie theaters on April 9, 2011 as part of the groundbreaking series The Met: Live in HD, which transmits live performances to more than 1500 movie theaters and performing arts centers in 46 countries around the world.

Great Performances at the Met is a presentation of THIRTEEN for WNET, one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers.

This performance made headlines the world over as–less than an hour before curtain time–tenor Florez assisted in the delivery of his first child. He welcomed the baby boy into the world, then raced to the Met to sing the opera’s demanding title role, a scheming young count who vies with Isolier (DiDonato, in a trouser role) for the love of the lonely Countess Adele (Damrau).

Renee Fleming, who will star in the Great Performances at the Met broadcast of Capriccio on August 14, hosts the broadcast.

All three of the opera’s stars appeared in Sher’s acclaimed Met production of Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia; Damrau and Florez sang in the 2006 new production premiere and DiDonato and Florez starred in a 2007 Great Performances at the Met broadcast.

Le Comte Ory‘s hero is Florez’s seventh bel canto role at the Met. He also starred in the Great Performances at the Met broadcasts of La Fille du Regiment and La Sonnambula. Damrau has performed at the Met in a varied repertory encompassing stratospheric coloratura roles, such as Mozart’s Queen of the Night, as well as bel canto heroines, including the title characters in Lucia di Lammermoor and La Fille du Regiment. DiDonato has won praise for her singing and acting at the Met as Rosina in Barbiere, as well as in the trouser roles of Stephano in Romeo et Juliette and Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro. The cast also includes Susanne Resmark as Ragonde; Stephane Degout as Raimbaud; and Michele Pertusi as The Tutor.

The New York Times called Le Comte Ory “one of Rossini’s wittiest and most seamless and sophisticated works” and applauded Sher’s “lively, colorful and inventive production.” Reviewing the opening of the new production, the Associated Press critic said Le Comte Ory “sparkles…with a brilliant cast of bel canto specialists… Florez reveled in the title role’s pyrotechnical challenges, including many excursions up to high C and above…Damrau stopped the show with the coloratura fireworks in her entrance aria and proved a consistent, sweet-toned delight…DiDonato sang Isolier with luxuriant tone and dazzling agility.”

Sher’s design team for Le Comte Ory includes his frequent collaborators, Michael Yeargan (sets) and Catherine Zuber (costumes), both of whom designed Sher’s previous Met productions, Barbiere and 2009′s Les Contes d’Hoffmann. Brian MacDevitt (lighting) recently designed the Met premieres of Armida and Doctor Atomic. The three designers have earned a total of 11 Tony Awards for their work on Broadway.

Gary Halvorson directs the broadcast and Jay David Saks is music producer.

Major funding for Great Performances at the Met: Le Comte Ory was provided by Mrs. Charles B. Wrightsman. Great Performances is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, and Joseph A. Wilson. Corporate support for Great Performances at the Met is provided by Toll Brothers, America’s luxury home builder®.

Visit Great Performances online at www.pbs.org/gperf for additional information on this and other Great Performances programs.

For the Met, Mia Bongiovanni and Elena Park are Supervising Producers, and Louisa Briccetti and Victoria Warivonchik are Producers. Peter Gelb is Executive Producer. For Great Performances, Bill O’Donnell is Series Producer; David Horn is Executive Producer.

About WNET New York Public Media

WNET New York Public Media is a pioneering provider of television and web content. The parent of THIRTEEN, WLIW21 and Creative News Group, WNET brings such acclaimed broadcast series and websites as Tavis Smiley, Need To Know, Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, Charlie Rose, Secrets of the Dead, Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, Visions, Consuelo Mack WealthTrack, Angelina Ballerina: The Next Steps and Cyberchase to national and international audiences. Through its wide range of channels and platforms, WNET serves the entire New York City metro area with unique local productions, broadcasts and innovative educational and cultural projects. In all that it does, WNET pursues a single, overarching goal — to create media experiences of lasting significance for New York, America and the world. For more information, visit www.wnet.org.

About the Met

Under the leadership of General Manager Peter Gelb and Music Director James Levine, the Met has a series of bold initiatives underway that are designed to broaden its audience and revitalize the company’s repertory. The Met has made a commitment to presenting modern masterpieces alongside the classic repertory, with highly theatrical productions featuring the greatest opera stars in the world. The Met’s 2010-11 season features seven new productions, including the first two installments of a new Ring cycle, directed by Robert Lepage and conducted by Maestro Levine, and two company premieres (John Adams’s Nixon in China directed by Peter Sellars, and Le Comte Ory directed by Bartlett Sher). The season also features new productions of three repertory classics by outstanding directors–Boris Godunov by Stephen Wadsworth, Don Carlo by Nicholas Hytner, and La Traviata by Willy Decker.

Building on its 80-year-old international radio broadcast history–heard over the Toll Brothers-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network–the Met uses advanced media distribution platforms and state-of-the-art technology to reach audiences around the world. The Met: Live in HD, the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning series of live performance transmissions to movie theaters around the world, returns for its fifth season in 2010-11. The series of 12 transmissions began October 9 with Das Rheingold and ends with Die Walkure on May 14. The Met recently introduced Met Player, a new subscription service that makes much of its extensive video and audio catalog of full-length performances available to the public for the first time online, and in exceptional, state-of-the-art quality. Metropolitan Opera Radio on SIRIUS XM Radio broadcasts live performances from the Met stage three times a week during the opera season, as well; the Met on Rhapsody on-demand service offers audio recordings; and the Met presents free live audio streaming of performances on its website once every week during the opera season.

The Met has launched several audience development initiatives, including Open House dress rehearsals, a popular rush ticket program, Gallery Met, and an annual Holiday Series presentation for families. For more information, please visit: www.metopera.org.

SOURCE WNET New York Public Media


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