Starting tonight, the company is bringing back its Barber, which is staged by the renowned director Bartlett Sher and the entire creative team behind the award-winning Broadway productions of The Light in the Piazza and Awake and Sing!. There will be four performances this month and another four in April and May, all conducted by Maurizio Benini.
Taking the role of Rosina this time around is mezzo Joyce DiDonato, who thrilled all London when she sang the part at Covent Garden last season, carrying off the Royal Philharmonic Society Award for best singer in the process. (The jury caller her performance "a revelatory celebration of Rossini's style and spirit.")
Juan Diego Fl‹rez repeats his own coloratura star turn as Count Almaviva for the March performances; next month he's succeeded by the gifted American tenor Lawrence Brownlee. (Brownlee and DiDonato starred together earlier this year in another Rossini coloratura comedy, La Cenerentola, at Houston Grand Opera.)
For this month, the charismatic Peter Mattei reprises the role of Figaro, the titular barber; in April, Canadian baritone Russell Braun takes over. Also in April and May, veteran bass Samuel Ramey returns to the role of the pompous music master Don Basilio; for the March performances, the part is sung by the talented young bass-baritone John Relyea. And throughout the spring run, mezzo Claudia Waite plays the snuff-addled maid Berta, while John Del Carlo reprises his priceless comic turn as bumbling old Dr. Bartolo.
Tonight's performance will be simulcast in live audio over the Web, available for free at the Met's website (www.metopera.org); on Saturday, March 24, the matinee will be simulcast into select movie theaters in high-definition video. (A link from the Met's homepage will lead you to the location nearest you.)