Metropolitan Opera 2018-19 Preview: Tatiana Troyanos, Renata Scotto, Susan Graham & The Major History Stars of ‘La Clemenza di Tito’ In NYC

By David Salazar

Mozart’s “La Clemenza di Tito” has only had 45 performances to date at the Metropolitan Opera. Compared to other major works by the iconic composer, that number is rather low.

The opera actually had its Met premiere on Oct. 18, 1984. It’s history with the company has been marked by a wide range of major stars in the three main roles. Here is a breakdown of the artists tasked with interpreting some of Mozart’s most complex characters.


Kenneth Riegel was the first to take on the title role, performing it a total of 12 times with the company between 1984 and 1985. John Alexander was second with four performances in 1984 and 1987, followed by David Rendall and his six appearances, all in 1987. Donald Kaasch took on the opera four times in 1991 and in 1997, audiences saw Anthony Rolfe Johnson for four performances. In 2005, it was Frank Lopardo’s turn with five showcases, followed by Ramón Vargas in 2008 (four performances), and Giuseppe Filianoti (five) in 2012; Russell Thomas stepped in for one performance in that 2012 run.


Renata Scotto was the Met’s first Vitellia, singing in seven performances in 1984. Elizabeth Connell and Roberta Alexander followed with Carol Vaness dominating the role 13 times between 1984 and 1997. When the opera appeared in 2005, it was Melanie Diener’s turn for five shows. Tamar Iveri and Barbara Frittoli are the two most recent interpreters of the role at the Met.


Ann Murray was the first Sesto, though she shared that initial run with Tatiana Troyanos who took on the role 22 times between 1984 and 1991. Diana Montague got one performance in 1987 and Anne Sofie Von Otter got nine in 1997 and 2005. Susan Graham got four in 2008 and Elina Garanca performed in the 2012 run.

This year’s production will feature Matthew Polenzani in the title role, Elza van den Heever as Vitellia, and Joyce DiDonato as Sesto.