Donizetti: Maria Stuarda (The Metropolitan Opera HD Live)

New Year’s Eve 2012 brought the first-ever performance at New York’s Metropolitan Opera of Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda, famed for its incendiary, if fictional, confrontation between Mary Stuart (Mary, Queen of Scots) and Queen Elizabeth I of England. The performance on this DVD took place on January 19th 2013 and was broadcast to cinemas around the world.

David McVicar directed the production with its striking use of vivid colors and stark imagery, and Maurizio Benini conducted a cast that featured acclaimed mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato in the title role, the imposing South African soprano Elza van den Heever, making her Met debut as “a vocally burnished and emotionally tempestuous Elizabeth… Her voice has penetrating depth and character. She turns flights of coloratura passagework into bursts of jealousy and defiance as Elizabeth contends with the threat that Mary, a blood relative, poses to her reign in England” (The New York Times). As the Earl of Leicester, caught between the rival queens, American tenor Matthew Polenzani brought “melting sound and appealing vulnerability to the role.”

The Metropolitan Opera
Cast: Joyce DiDonato, Elza van den Heever, Matthew Polenzani, Joshua Hopkins, Matthew Rose
Conductor: Maurizio Benini
Director: David McVicar

Gramophone Editor’s Choice: “The two main protagonists brilliantly capture all the opera’s drama and passion . . .” (Gramophone, July 2014)