Opera from New York returns to Hong Kong this month

Productions by the Metropolitan Opera, with stars including Netrebko and Hvorostovsky, will get big-screen broadcasts

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 31 December, 2015, 6:01am
UPDATED : Thursday, 31 December, 2015, 6:00am

The New York Metropolitan Opera’s The Met: Live in HD returns this month with David McVicar’s production of Giuseppe Verdi’s Il Trovatore, featuring top soprano Anna Netrebko and to be screened at UA Cityplaza on January 16.

Other new productions in the series’ 10th season include Verdi’s Otello, Georges Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs de Perles, Giacomo Puccini’s Manon Lescaut and Richard Strauss’ Elektra.

The Met: Live in HD wasn’t beamed to Hong Kong until 2010 (and broadcasts were/are delayed) but the format has remained popular among local opera lovers ever since.

Laurence Scofield, who helped introduce this programme through the Foundation for Arts and Music in Asia, had said its appeal rested on the quality of these productions. “What brings in audiences, what excites people, what gets them in love with this medium … is the quality. That’s the key thing.”

McVicar’s production of Il Trovatore is a highlight of the new season, because it stars not only Netrebko (who is scheduled to appear in this year’s Hong Kong Arts Festival) as Leonora, but also Dmitri Hvorostovsky, who took on the role of Count di Luna last September despite having treatment for a brain tumour at the time.

The New York Times described the charismatic Russian baritone’s performance as “gripping”. “There was little need to take what he has been going through into account,” the reviewer wrote. “His resplendent voice, with its distinctive mellow character and dusky veneer, sounded not at all compromised.”

The production also features South Korean tenor Yonghoon Lee as Manrico.

Another highlight is Tony Award winner Bartlett Sher’s staging of Verdi’s Otello. The eponymous hero is sung by Aleksandrs Antonenko and the innocent wife Desdemona by the fast-rising Bulgarian soprano Sonya Yoncheva. Željko Lucic is the evil Iago.

The Huffington Post said the new production of Otello was “stark and simple yet powerful”.

The Met: Live in HD 2015-16 season in Hong Kong from January 16. Inquiries: www.themetinhongkong.info