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James Levine Leads a Rare Met Opera Revival of Stravinsky's THE RAKE'S PROGRESS: May 9, 1 PM on WRTI

Marty Sohl
Paul Appleby as Tom Rakewell and Layla Claire as Anne Trulove in Stravinksky's THE RAKE'S PROGRESS.

The 2014-15 Metropolitan Opera Radio Broadcast season concludes with a broadcast of a 20th-century masterpiece, Igor Stravinsky’s only full-length opera, The Rake’s Progress. Met Music Director James Levine leads the performance, with rising stars Paul Appleby and Layla Claire in the central roles of the carefree Tom Rakewell and his faithful sweetheart, Anne Trulove; Gerald Finley as the mysterious Nick Shadow, who encourages Tom to pursue a life of aimless pleasure; Stephanie Blythe as the bearded lady, Baba the Turk; and English bass Brindley Sherratt in his network debut as Anne’s father, Trulove. Listen on WRTI 90.1 FM and online at WRTI.org on Saturday, May 9th at 1 to 4:15 pm.


James Levine conducted both the 1997 premiere of Jonathan Miller’s staging of The Rake’s Progress and its only previous revival, in the 2002-03 season. In 1981, to commemorate Stravinsky’s centennial, Levine introduced a triple bill of the composer’s works to the Met repertory: the ballet Le Sacre du Printemps, the short opera Le Rossignol, and the opera-oratorio Oedipus Rex. This season, Levine has also led the opening-night new production of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and revivals of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Verdi’s Ernani, and Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera. Later this spring, he will conduct the final MET Orchestra concert of the season, at Carnegie Hall on May 17. Over the course of his 44-year career at the Met, he has led more than 2,450 performances.

Tenor Paul Appleby, a graduate of the Met’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, made his Met debut in 2011 as Brighella in Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos. He has since performed five additional roles with the company: Demetrius in the world premiere of the Baroque pastiche The Enchanted Island, Hylas in Berlioz’s Les Troyens, the Chevalier de la Force in Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites, Brian in the North American premiere of Nico Muhly’s Two Boys, and, earlier this season, David in Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. Next season, he will add another role to his Met repertory as Belmonte in Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail.

Layla Claire, also a graduate of the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, made her Met debut as Tebaldo in the 2010 new production premiere of Verdi’s Don Carlo and sang Helena opposite Appleby’s Demetrius in the 2012 world premiere performances of The Enchanted Island. The Canadian soprano’s other recent performances have included Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni at the Glyndebourne Festival, the Governess in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw at Zurich Opera, and Blanche in Dialogues des Carmélites at Washington National Opera.

Baritone Gerald Finley sings his first Met performances of Nick Shadow, a role he performed to acclaim at the Glyndebourne Festival in 2000. He has appeared in six roles at the Met, including three Mozart characters—Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, the title role in Don Giovanni, and Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro—as well as Golaud in Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, Marcello in Puccini’s La Bohème, and J. Robert Oppenheimer in the Met premiere of John Adams’s Doctor Atomic.

Stephanie Blythe sang Baba the Turk at the Met in both the 1997-98 and 2002-03 seasons. In 2003, she was Jocasta in Oedipus Rex during a revival of the Stravinsky triple bill. The American mezzo-soprano has given more than 200 Met performances in a wide-ranging repertory of 27 roles, including, recently, Mistress Quickly in Verdi’s Falstaff, Fricka in Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, Ulrica in Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera, Amneris in Verdi’s Aida, and Eduige in Handel’s Rodelinda. Like her colleagues Appleby and Claire, Blythe is a graduate of the Met’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.

Brindley Sherratt has made his Met debut as Trulove. His other engagements this season include Sparafucile in Verdi’s Rigoletto at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; the King in James MacMillan’s Inés de Castro at Scottish Opera; Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte at the Dutch National Opera; and Bottom in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Aix-en-Provence Festival. Next season, he will sing Geronte in the Met’s new production of Puccini’s Manon Lescaut.

The intermission will include backstage interviews and a conversation with Met General Manager Peter Gelb about the 2015-16 season.

Conductor: James Levine
Anne Trulove: Layla Claire
Baba the Turk: Stephanie Blythe
Tom Rakewell: Paul Appleby
Nick Shadow: Gerald Finley
Trulove: Brindley Sherratt