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Metropolitan Opera Opens Season With “Otello″

September 20, 1987

NEW YORK (AP) _ The Metropolitan Opera opens its new season Monday night with ″Otello,″ commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Verdi opera and starring today’s leading singer of Otello, tenor Placido Domingo.

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa will sing Desdemona, the role with which she made her debut in 1974. Music director James Levine will conduct.

Silvano Caroli replaces Renato Bruson as Iago, a move common to the new Met season. In recent weeks, the company has announced numerous cast replacements: Tenor Vinson Cole appears as des Grieux in ″Manon,″ taking over for Goesta Winbergh, who became ill last month; Lebanese-born Sona Ghazarian will sing the role of Adina in ″The Elixir of Love.″ She replaces the ill Judith Blegen.

″Otello,″ an opera in four acts based on the play by William Shakespeare, was first performed at La Scala in Milan, Italy, on Feb. 5, 1887. It made its U.S. debut on April 16, 1888 at the Academy of Music in New York.

Last season’s new production of ″Manon″ with Catherine Malfitano in the title role and tenor Vinson Cole as des Grieux, will be shown on the second night of the new Met season.

Cole made his Met debut in January as the drunk who sings arias from his jail cell in ″Die Fledermaus.″ Canadian baritone Gino Quilico, son of Met baritone Louis Quilico, makes his Met debut as Lescaut.

Top sopranos Jessye Norman and Kathleen Battle star in Wednesday’s ″Ariadne auf Naxos.″ Canadian tenor Paul Frey makes his Met debut as Bacchus. Hermann Prey returns to the Met for the first time since 1973 to sing the Music Master. Tatiana Troyanos sings the ″hosenrole″ (a part intended for a man) of the Composer, who is Strauss.

Two Met debuts will be seen in Thursday’s ″The Elixir of Love″: Austrian conductor Ralf Weikert and Sona Ghazarian as Adina. Carlo Bergonzi, a veteran Nemorino, will sing that role.

Three new productions are scheduled for the season: ″Das Rheingold,″ the second installment in the Met’s new Wagner ″Ring″ cycle, bows Oct. 9; Dame Joan Sutherland and Luciano Pavarotti sing in ″Il Trovatore″ on Nov. 12; ″Siegfried″ will be the third of the new ″Ring″ productions on Feb. 12.

PBS will telecast three ″Live From the Met″ operas after the first of the year. All are taped at performances and shown at later dates. ″Turandot,″ which received a lavish new production last season and was taped last season, will be shown on Jan. 27. It starred Domingo, Eva Marton and Leona Mitchell.

″The Tales of Hoffmann,″ with Neil Shicoff in the title role, will be telecast March 2, and ″Ariadne auf Naxos,″ with Miss Norman and Miss Battle, will be telecast April 27.

Comedian Sid Caesar will make his Metropolitan Opera debut in December in the speaking role of the jailer Frosch in ″Die Fledermaus.″ He will appear in eight performances.

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