Live at the Met season features Francesca da Rimini at Opera House

The 1891 Fredonia Opera House continues the 2012-13 season of Live at the Met high definition opera broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera with Riccardo Zandonai’s Francesca da Rimini, on Saturday at noon.

“This week’s offering is Zandonai’s masterpiece, Francesca da Rimini,” says Opera House Executive Director Rick Davis. “His best-known work, this opera has been called ‘one of the most original and polished Italian melodramas of the 20th century it combines a powerful gift for Italian melody with an exceptional command of orchestration’.”

The opera is the story of Francesca da Rimini, a noblewoman who meets and falls deeply in love with the handsome Paolo, whom she believes to be her betrothed in a pending arranged marriage. She is, however, tricked into marrying Paolo’s lame and deformed brother, Gianciotto. Unable to control their longing for one another, Paolo and Francesca profess their love and in doing so are discovered by the evil Malatestino, Paolo’s and Gianciotto’s youngest brother. Malatestino, himself smitten with Francesca, in a fit of jealousy betrays the lovers to Gianciotto who lies in wait outside Francesca’s door and discovering the two at early dawn, slays them both.

Zandonai’s masterpiece returns to the Met in a rare revival, the first time the company has staged the work in more than 25 years. Piero Faggioni’s production, which sets the action in Renaissance Italy, stars Dutch soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek and Italian tenor Marcello Giordani as Francesca and Paolo, the star-crossed lovers whose doomed romance inspired an episode in Dante’s Inferno. Marco Armiliato conducts a cast that also includes American baritone Mark Delavan as Gianciotto, Francesca’s brutal husband, and American tenor Robert Brubaker as the wicked Malatestino. American soprano Sondra Radvanovsky hosts the transmission and conducts backstage interviews with the stars.

The runs just under four hours, says Davis. “There are three 25-minute intermissions,” he adds, “during which snacks and beverages will be available for purchase on the second floor of Village Hall.” No food or beverage is allowed inside the theatre.

Live at the Met opera broadcasts are made possible by Dr. James M. and Marcia Merrins, who funded the purchase of the satellite transmission and projection equipment used in the series. Additional support comes from Bob and Shirley Coon, Susan Dilks, Steve and Mary Rees and DFT Communications.

Tickets to Francesca da Rimini are $20 ($18 for Opera House and Met members, $15 for students) and are available in advance by calling or visiting the Box Office at 679-1891 Tuesday-Friday, 1-5 p.m. They also may be purchased online anytime at

Chautauqua County’s only performing arts center presenting its own programming year-round, the 1891 Fredonia Opera House is a member-supported not-for-profit organization located in Village Hall in downtown Fredonia. For a complete schedule of events, visit