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Metropolitan Opera: Verdi’s La Traviata

Airs Saturday, April 14 at 12:00 noon. The 2011-12 Metropolitan Opera Radio Broadcast season continues with a live broadcast of Verdi’s La Traviata. Natalie Dessay sings her first Met performances of the iconic leading role, Violetta Valéry. Matthew Polenzani co-stars as her love, Alfredo, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky is his disapproving father, Giorgio Germont. Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi leads the performance in the second of his four consecutive radio broadcasts this season. The opera will be seen in Willy Decker’s striking production, which premiered to critical acclaim at the Met in 2010. La Traviata will be heard live over the Toll Brothers-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network at 12 p.m. CT on Saturday, April 14.  The performance will also be transmitted worldwide as part of The Met: Live in HD series, which is now seen in more than 1,700 movie theaters in 54 countries.

In recent seasons, Dessay has sung Violetta at the Vienna State Opera, the Aix-en-Provence Festival, and the Santa Fe Opera. Since her Met debut in 1994 as Fiakermilli in Richard Strauss’s Arabella, her numerous appearances with the company include Zerbinetta in his Ariadne auf Naxos, and the title roles in the new production premieres of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor (2007) and La Fille du Régiment (2008), and Bellini’s La Sonnambula (2009). Next season, she will make her Met role debut as Cleopatra in a new production of Handel’s Giulio Cesare.

Polenzani sang Alfredo last season in the premiere of Decker’s production. His wide-ranging Met repertory includes Tamino in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni (which he sang earlier this broadcast season), Ernesto in Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, David in Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Roméo in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, and Almaviva in Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia.  He will open the Met’s 2012-13 season in his house role debut as Nemorino in a new production of Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore.

Giorgio Germont is one of six Verdi roles in Hvorostovsky’s Met repertory. Earlier this season, he gave his first performances as Don Carlo in Ernani; Met audiences have also heard him as the title character in Simon Boccanegra, Rodrigo in Don Carlo, Renato in Un Ballo in Maschera, and di Luna in Il Trovatore. Germont is one of his most acclaimed portrayals, and he has sung the role more than 20 times at the Met over the past decade. Next season, he stars in a new production of Un Ballo in Maschera and a revival of Don Carlo.

In addition to La Traviata, Luisi conducts this month’s broadcasts of Massenet’s Manon and Wagner’s Die Walküre and Siegfried. Earlier this season at the Met, he led the new production premieres of Wagner’s Siegfried and Götterdämmerung and Mozart’s Don Giovanni. He will lead next season’s new production of Un Ballo in Maschera, revivals of Verdi’s Aida and Berlioz’s Les Troyens, and three additional Ring cycles.