Metropolitan Opera 2016-17 Preview: Vocal Fireworks Set For ‘I Puritani’ With Diana Damrau And Javier Camarena

By Francisco Salazar

The Metropolitan Opera continues its 2016-17 season this week with a revival of Bellini’s final opera “I Puritani.”

Diana Damrau will add the role of Elvira to her Met repertoire after having performed it to great success in Madrid and Amsterdam.

She will be joined by her frequent stage partner Javier Camarena, who recently triumphed in his last run of Rossini’s “Il Barbiere di Siviglia.” Camarena recently spoke to OperaWire about his delight in singing the music of Bellini and said “A te o cara” was the “culmination of his bel canto writing.”

The cast will also includes superstar Luca Pisaroni as Giorgio in his second Bellini role of the year. He recently made his role debut as the Count in ” La Sonnambula.” Alexey Markov rounds out the cast as Riccardo.

Bel Canto specialist Maurizio Benini will conduct all performances which run from the 10th through the 28th of February, a total of six performances.

The Opera

Bellini’s final opera is considered a masterpiece of the Bel Canto repertoire for its sheer melodic beauty. However, it has been ridiculed for its plot. Nevertheless the opera contains some of the richest melodies including the opening tenor aria “A Te O Cara”and the soprano’s famous mad scene “Qui la voce sua soave.” One of the most famous pieces however is the baritone and bass duet “Suoni la Tromba” which is a heroic and show-stopping piece that baritones and basses relish performing in concert. The opera is also known for its difficult tenor part as Bellini wrote in a High F in the final aria “Credeasi Misera.”

Popular Recordings

The opera became popular when Maria Callas revived the work and recorded it alongside Giuseppe Di Stefano. Joan Sutherland then became a very famous interpreter and recorded the work numerous times, most famously with Luciano Pavarotti. There are several DVD recordings that are available including the Met Opera’s historical performance from Anna Netrebko and Bologna’s critical edition version with Juan Diego Florez’s which also stars Nino Machaidze. There is also another recording with legendary soprano Edita Gruberova, who is the most famous interpreter in the past 20 years.