Roberto Devereux

Sondra Radvanovsky Roberto Devereux Photographer Kristian Schuller Metropolitan Opera Season 2015-16 Brochure

We attended the Met Premiere performance of Donizetti’s “Roberto Devereux” – and when we say Premiere, we mean literally the first performance ever of this, the third of Donizetti’s so-called Tudor trilogy. Generally, when operas have never or rarely been performed at the Met there is a reason, but in this case the reason escapes us. This opera features wonderful music, great singing, a nice production and an okay plot.

In short, the opera is a sort of love triangle between Queen Elizabeth, the eponymous Devereux, Earl of Essex, and Sarah, Duchess of Nottingham. Sarah and Devereux had been enamored of one another, but while he was in Ireland, she has been “forced” into a marriage with the Duke of Nottingham. At the same time Elizabeth has been enamored of Devereux. The plot revolves around whether Queen Elizabeth will pardon Devereux, whom she has loved, and who has been returned to England, accused of treason. Without revealing the plot, it does not end happily.

This opera features a superb cast, with Sandra Radvanovsky as the Queen, the superb Elīna Garanča as Sarah, an outstanding Mariusz Kwiecien as Nottingham and Matthew Polenzani in the title role. The Met chorus and orchestra delivered their usual outstanding performance. The audience (and we) loved the evening, giving the cast and the production crew a sustained standing ovation.

Our suggestion: Go and take in this spectacle.

Martin McKerrow

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