"Great Performances at the Met" to Feature Works By Taymor, Sher and O'Brien

By Zachary Pincus-Roth
January 23, 2007

Metropolitan Opera productions directed by Julie Taymor, Bartlett Sher and Jack O'Brien will be featured in the new opera series "Great Performances at the Met," a joint project of the Met and PBS, which premieres Jan. 24 with Taymor's The Magic Flute.

The series of six live performances is the most complete coverage of Met operas ever presented by PBS in one season.

Taymor's new English-language production of Mozart's The Magic Flute includes all the effects that were in her original German-language production, including "flying birds, dancing bears, and a star-shimmering Queen of the Night," according to a release.

The recording of The Magic Flute was taped on Dec. 30, 2006, and was directed by Gary Halvorson. Pat Jaffe directed the pre-taped opening sequence preceding the performance. The new English libretto is by the poet J.D. McClatchy. The settings are by George Tsypin, and Donald Holder is the lighting designer. Taymor designed the costumes and co-designed the puppets with Michael Curry. Mark Dendy is choreographer. James Levine, the Met's music director, conducts.

The cast includes Ying Huang as Pamina, Matthew Polenzani as Tamino, Nathan Gunn as Papageno, Erika Miklósa as the Queen of the Night, and René Pape as Sarastro.

The series also includes Sher's new staging of Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville), with Juan Diego Flórez, and O'Brien's new production of Puccini's Il Trittico.

The others in the series are Bellini's I Puritani, featuring Anna Netrebko; Tan Dun's The First Emperor, starring Plácido Domingo and staged by film director Zhang Yimou; and Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, with Renée Fleming and Dmitri Hvorostovsky.