Performance Sunday, October 13, 2013 | 3 PM

The MET Orchestra

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Having “triumphed at the Met in several Rossini roles” (The Classical Review), Joyce DiDonato joins The MET Orchestra on the Carnegie Hall stage “to demonstrate her coloratura wizardry with dazzling runs, trills, and roulades” (The New York Times) in another of Rossini’s works—his dramatic cantata that runs the gamut of technical and emotional demands. Also on the program are arias from Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito, as well as works that showcase a wide range of orchestral color and virtuosity by Beethoven, Carter, and Verdi.


  • The MET Orchestra
    James Levine, Music Director and Conductor
  • Joyce DiDonato, Mezzo-Soprano


  • VERDI Overture to I vespri Siciliani
  • CARTER Variations for Orchestra
  • ROSSINI Giovanna d'Arco (orch. Salvatore Sciarrino)
  • MOZART "Deh, per questo istante solo" from La clemenza di Tito
  • MOZART "Non più di fiori" from La clemenza di Tito
  • BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 7

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours and 30 minutes, including one 20-minute intermission.


  • The MET Orchestra

    The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra is regarded as one of the world's finest orchestras. From the time of the company's inception in 1883, the ensemble has worked with leading conductors in both opera and concert performances and has developed into an orchestra of enormous technical polish and style. The MET Orchestra (as the ensemble is referred to when appearing in concert outside the opera house) maintains a demanding schedule of performances and rehearsals during its 33-week New York season, when the company performs seven times a week in repertory that this season encompasses 28 operas.

    Arturo Toscanini conducted almost 500 performances at the Met, and Gustav Mahler, during the few years he was in New York, conducted 54 Met performances. More recently, many of the world's great conductors have led the orchestra: Walter, Beecham, Reiner, Mitropoulos, Kempe, Szell, Böhm, Solti, Maazel, Bernstein, Mehta, Abbado, Karajan, Dohnányi, Haitink, Tennstedt, Ozawa, Gergiev, Barenboim, and Muti. Carlos Kleiber's only US opera performances were with the MET Orchestra.

    In addition to its opera schedule, the orchestra has a distinguished history of concert performances. Toscanini made his American debut as a symphonic conductor with the Met Orchestra in 1913, and the impressive list of instrumental soloists who appeared with the orchestra includes Leopold Godowsky, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Arthur Rubinstein, Pablo Casals, Josef Hofmann, Ferruccio Busoni, Jascha Heifetz, Moritz Rosenthal, and Fritz Kreisler. Since the orchestra resumed symphonic concerts in 1991, instrumental soloists have included Itzhak Perlman, Maxim Vengerov, Alfred Brendel, and Evgeny Kissin, and the group has performed five world premieres: Milton Babbitt's Piano Concerto No. 2 (1998), William Bolcom's Symphony No. 7 (2002), Hsueh-Yung Shen's Legend (2002), and Charles Wuorinen's Theologoumenon (2007) and Time Regained (2009).

    James Levine

    Music Director James Levine has developed a relationship with the Metropolitan Opera that is unparalleled in its history and unique in the musical world today. Since his company debut in 1971, he has led nearly 2,500 performances of 85 operas at the Met both in New York and on tour. This season he returns to the company to conduct the new production of Falstaff and revivals of Così fan tutte and Wozzeck, and to Carnegie Hall for three concerts with the MET Orchestra.

    Maestro Levine inaugurated the Metropolitan Opera Presents television series for PBS in 1977, founded the Met's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program in 1980, and returned Wagner's complete Ring to the repertoire in 1989 (in the first integral cycles in 50 years at the Met). He and the MET Orchestra began touring in concert in 1991, and since then have performed around the world, including at Expo '92 in Seville, in Japan, across the United States and Europe, and regularly during and after the opera season here at Carnegie Hall.

    In addition to his responsibilities at the Met, Mr. Levine has been a distinguished pianist and an active and avid recital collaborator, especially in lieder and song repertoire. He began accompanying such artists as Jennie Tourel, Hans Hotter, and Eleanor Steber more than 50 years ago, and since that time has given recitals with most of the great singers of our time. From 1973 to 1993, he was music director of the Ravinia Festival, summer home to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; became chief conductor from 1999 to 2004 of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra; and music director from 2000 to 2004 of the Verbier Festival Youth Orchestra. From 2004 to 2011, he was music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Between 1996 and 2000, he led more than a dozen concerts on the Three Tenors World Tour, and he was conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for the soundtrack of Disney's Fantasia 2000. He has conducted every major orchestra in America and Europe. His most recent recording, James Levine: Live at Carnegie Hall, a live performance CD of his return to the podium in May with the MET Orchestra and Evgeny Kissin, was released earlier this month.

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  • Joyce DiDonato

    Winner of the 2012 Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Solo, Kansas-born Joyce DiDonato entrances audiences and critics alike across the globe. She has soared to the top of the industry as both a performer and a fierce arts advocate. Her signature parts include the bel canto  roles of Rossini, and she also specialises in operas by Handel and Mozart.

    Much in demand on the recital circuit, in 2013 Ms. DiDonato was acclaimed for her debut recital tour of South America, where she will return next summer. She has recently appeared in concertand recital in Berlin, Vienna, Toulouse, Milan, and Aspen.

    Ms. DiDonato made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 2005 as Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, returning as Sycorax in the world premiere of The Enchanted Island, Isolier in Le Comte Ory, the Composer in Ariadne auf Naxos, Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Stéphano in Roméo et Juliette, and in the title role of Maria Stuarda. This season at the Met she sings Angelina in La Cenerentola. Other recent operatic performances include Romeo in I Capuleti e i Montecchi for the San Francisco Opera and Bavarian State Opera, and Elena La donna del lago at Covent Garden and with the Santa Fe Opera. Highlights of the current season include I Capuleti e i Montecchi in Kansas City, Cendrillon at Barcelona's Liceu, La clemenza di tito at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Maria Stuarda to end the season in London at Covent Garden.

    An exclusive recording artist with Erato / Warner Classics, Ms. DiDonato's Grammy Award-winning solo CD, Diva Divo, comprises arias by male and female characters, celebrating the dramatic world of the mezzo-soprano. This was followed by Drama Queens; a retrospective of her first 10 years of recordings entitled ReJOYCE! was released last month.

    Other honors include the Gramophone Artist of the Year and Recital of the Year awards and a German Echo Klassik Award as Female Singer of the Year.

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Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 (Poco sustenuto, Vivace)
Boston Symphony Orchestra | Leonard Bernstein, Conductor

At a Glance

Despite belonging to one of Verdi's lesser-known operas, the Overture to I vespri Siciliani, which opens this afternoon's program, is one of the composer's finest curtain raisers—an ambitious opener that ranges from violent battle music to tender, lyrical beauty. Next is a performance of Elliott Carter's landmark Variations for Orchestra in memory of the composer, an American musical icon who died last November at the age of 103.

The program continues with vocal music from Rossini and Mozart, two of music history's great composers for voice. Rossini's dramatic cantata Giovanna d'Arco, a psychologically intense monologue from the perspective of Joan of Arc,  dates from 1832 and is one of the largest-scale works he completed after his abrupt retirement from opera composition in 1829. Two selections from La clemenza di Tito—"Deh, per questo istante solo" and "Ecco in punito … Non più di fiori"—showcase Mozart's late style and powerfully demonstrate his willingness to prioritize emotional impact above flashy virtuoso display.

Beethoven's Seventh Symphony, the most extroverted and infectious of them all, concludes the program. Premiered in late 1813 amid jubilation in Vienna at the failure of Napoleon's European conquest, this is music of contagious vivacity and kinetic energy—a powerful demonstration of music as a pure, elemental force. It was rapturously received upon its debut and has rightly been the object of effusive praise and fanciful interpretation-from composers, musicians, critics, and audiences alike, beginning with Beethoven himself, who called the piece one of his "most excellent works"—ever since.
Program Notes
This performance is part of The MET Orchestra.