Metropolitan Opera 2016-17 Preview: Placido Domingo Makes Met Role Debut as ‘Nabucco’

By David Salazar

The Metropolitan Opera will premiere Verdi’s early masterpiece “Nabucco” on Monday December 12 in a performance featuring legendary tenor-turned-baritone Placido Domingo.

The Performers

This series of six performances will be Domingo in the title role at the Met after he successfully performed it at the Royal Opera House. The performance was released on DVD.

Domingo has showcased a number of his baritone roles on the Met stage over the last few years including the title role in “Simon Boccanegra,” Don Carlo in “Ernani” and Germont in “La Traviata.”

He will be joined by soprano Liudmyla Monastyrska in the role of Abigaille. The Ukrainian star sang the role alongside Domingo at the Royal Opera House and has made a name for herself at the Met singing the title role in “Aida.”

Last year’s Richard Tucker Award winner Jamie Barton takes on the role of Fenena for seven performances while tenor Russell Thomas performs as her lover Ismael.

Željko Lučić will take over the title role for two performances, while soprano Tatiana Melnchenko will take on Abigaille for one night; Nancy Fabiola Herrera and Adam Diegel will also be taking over for Barton and Thomas respectively for one evening.

The only singer taking on every single performance of this run is Dmitry Belosselskiy as Zaccaria. The bass made his debut in “Nabucco” back in 2011 and has sung roles in “Aida,” “Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk” and “Ernani.”

James Levine will conduct the entire run.

The Opera

“Nabucco” was just the third opera composed by the legendary Verdi and his first major success. The work, based on the biblical story, tracks the blasphemous ruler as he eventually comes to terms with God and helps the Jewish community.

“Nabucco” is made up of four acts and will feature just one intermission. The performance is estimated to run around two hours and 45 minutes.

The opera will be featured as part of the Met’s Live in HD series with a performance on Jan. 7, 2017. That performance will also be broadcast on the radio. That performance will incidentally be the final one of the entire run.

Notable Recordings

Those interested in delving deeper into the opera can check out a DVD release from the Met starring Juan Pons in the title role and Maria Guleghina as Abigaille.

There is also a famed Deutsche Grammophon recording that stars soprano Ghena Dmitrova, baritone Piero Cappuccilli and Domingo as Ismael.

There is also a popular Decca recording starring Tito Gobbi as “Nabucco” and Elena Souliotis as Abigaille.