2003-2004 Season of ChevronTexaco Metropolitan Opera

Season's Highlights Include Met Broadcast Premiere of Berlioz's Benvenuto Cellini and New Productions of Mozart's Don Giovanni and R. Strauss' Salome as well as the return of Wagner's complete Ring cycle

The 2003-2004 season of ChevronTexaco Metropolitan Opera live Saturday radio broadcasts will begin on December 13, 2003, at 1:00 p.m., ET, with the Met broadcast of Fromenthal Hal vy's LA JUIVE, and will continue through April 24, 2004, for a total of twenty Saturday matinee performances.
The broadcasts are currently heard on more than 365 stations in the United States, and in 40 countries including Canada, Mexico, 27 European countries, Argentina, Brazil, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and China. Marcello Viotti conducts the season's opening broadcast, the network premiere of Fromental Hal vy's LA JUIVE, on December 13, with Soile Isokoski as Rachel, Elizabeth Futral as Princess Eudoxie, Neil Shicoff as El azar, Eric Cutler as L opold, and Ferruccio Furlanetto as Cardinal Brogni.
The Metropolitan Opera continues its two-season-long commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Hector Berlioz this season with its first-ever production of BENVENUTO CELLINI. James Levine, the Met's artistic director, conducts the opera's network premiere on December 27, with Marcello Giordani as Benvenuto Cellini, Isabel Bayrakdarian as Teresa, Kristine Jepson as Ascanio, Peter Coleman-Wright as Fieramosca, John Del Carlo as Balducci, and Robert Lloyd as Pope Cl ment VII.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's DON GIOVANNI and Richard Strauss' SALOME both receive new productions this season. Maestro Levine conducts the broadcast of DON GIOVANNI on March 13, 2004, with Thomas Hampson in the title role and Anja Harteros as Donna Anna, Christine Goerke as Donna Elvira, Hei-Kyung Hong as Zerlina, Gregory Turay as Don Ottavio, Ren Pape as Leporello, Ildar Abdrazakov as Masetto, and Phillip Ens as the Commendatore. The Met's principal guest conductor, Valery Gergiev, leads the SALOME broadcast on March 27, 2004, with Karita Mattila in the title role, Larissa Diadkova as Herodias, Siegfried Jerusalem as Herod, Matthew Polenzani as Narraboth, and Albert Dohmen as Jokanaan.
Maestro Gergiev conducts two other broadcasts this season: STRAVINSKY, a triple-bill of works by Igor Stravinsky, on February 21, 2004, and Verdi's LA TRAVIATA on March 6, 2004. The cast for the broadcast of STRAVINSKY includes Olga Trifonova, Maria Zifchak, Barry Banks, Julien Robbins, and Victor Chernomortsev in Le Rossignol and Stephanie Blythe, Clifton Forbis, Barry Banks, Evgenij Nikitin, Phillip Ens, and Philip Bosco in Oedipus Rex. (The ballet Le Sacre du Printemps is the triple-bill's third part and features no singers.) Ren e Fleming sings Violetta in the LA TRAVIATA broadcast, with Ram n Vargas as Alfredo and Dmitri Hvorostovsky as Germont.
Wagner's complete RING cycle will be heard over four Saturdays in March and April 2004: DAS RHEINGOLD on March 20, DIE WALK RE on April 3, SIEGFRIED on April 17, and G TTERD MMERUNG on April 24. Maestro Levine conducts the entire cycle, with leading roles sung by Jane Eaglen, Deborah Voigt, Yvonne Naef, Elena Zaremba, Pl cido Domingo, Jon Fredric West, James Morris, Richard Paul Fink, Sergei Koptchak, and Matti Salminen.
Also heard during the 2003-2004 season will be Leh r's THE MERRY WIDOW (January 17 Kirill Petrenko; Susan Graham, Emily Pulley, Bo Skovhus, Paul Groves, James Courtney); Massenet's WERTHER (January 10 Michel Plasson; Lyubov Petrova, Vesselina Kasarova, Roberto Alagna, Christopher Schaldenbrand, Paul Plishka); Mussorgsky's BORIS GODUNOV (January 31 Semyon Bychkov; Irina Mishura, Sergej Larin, David Kuebler, Sergei Leiferkus, James Morris, Vladimir Matorin, Vladimir Ognovenko); Puccini's MADAMA BUTTERFLY (January 24 Pl cido Domingo; Veronica Villarroel, Marco Berti, Bruno Caproni); Rossini's IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA (January 3 Bruno Campanella; Ruth Ann Swenson, Juan Diego Fl rez, Dwayne Croft, Alfonso Antoniozzi, Paata Burchuladze) and L'ITALIANA IN ALGERI (February 28 James Levine; Olga Borodina, Juan Diego Fl rez, Earle Patriarco, Mariusz Kwiecien, Ferruccio Furlanetto); Schoenberg's MOSES UND ARON (December 20 James Levine; Philip Langridge, John Tomlinson); Tchaikovsky's THE QUEEN OF SPADES (February 14 Vladimir Jurowski; Katarina Dalayman, Elena Zaremba, Felicity Palmer, Pl cido Domingo, Nikolai Putilin, Vladimir Chernov);
and Verdi's RIGOLETTO (February 7 Marco Armiliato; Andrea Rost, Marina Domashenko, Frank Lopardo, Juan Pons, Julian Konstantinov); and NABUCCO (April 10 Carlo Rizzi; Andrea Gruber, Marina Domashenko, Gwyn Hughes Jones, Leo Nucci, Samuel Ramey).
THE SEASON PREVIEW on Saturday, December 6, at 1:30 p.m., ET, will celebrate the 64th season of ChevronTexaco Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts with recorded highlights drawn from the Metropolitan Opera's extensive broadcast archive. Met artists of the past and present will be featured in historic radio performances from many of the operas to be heard during the broadcast season. In addition, THE SEASON PREVIEW will include interviews with opera personalities as well as other recorded features introducing some of the season's less familiar works.
Peter Allen returns for his twenty-ninth season as the announcer for the weekly broadcasts, and Michael Bronson will be the producer of the intermission features including ChevronTexaco's Opera Quiz and Opera News on the Air.