Met Opera Live celebrates Ukraine


Giacomo Puccini’s opera “Turandot” pays tribute to Ukraine with its troubles in a Met Opera Live performance starring Ukrainian soprano Liudmyla Monastyrska. It plays at the M.V. Film Center on Saturday, May 7, at 12:55 pm. Tenor Yonghoon Lee is the prince who seeks Turandot’s love. Soprano Ermonela Jaho plays the servant Liu, and Italian bass Ferruccio Furlanetto performs as blind King Timor.

“Turandot,” set in Peking, concerns a myth in which any prince seeking to marry Princess Turandot must answer three riddles. If he fails, he will be put to death. Turandot’s ancestor Lou-Ling was abducted and killed by a marauding prince. As a result, the princess decides she will never marry. Yet Prince Calàf successfully answers the three riddles. When Calàf, in disguise, impulsively kisses Turandot, she feels the emotion of love for the first time. Calàf reveals his identity, and Turandot realizes that his name is Love.

Ukrainian star Monastyrska will replace Russian superstar Anna Netrebka, who supported Vladimir Putin, and will wrap herself in the Ukrainian blue and yellow flag for her curtain call. “I was surprised,” she said, “but I felt it was important for me to sing.” She had appeared as the lead in “Turandot” in 2015 in the National Opera of Ukraine at Kyiv, and previously found it too difficult to perform again. Although she has known Netrebko for seven years, she criticized the superstar’s initial support of Putin, even though Netrebko later retracted her support.

Monastyrska will also sing with the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra when it tours Europe and the U.S. this summer. She will perform the aria “Abscheulicher” from Beethoven’s “Fidelio” with the newly formed orchestra. The aria includes themes of humanity, injustice, and peace.

The soprano was born in Kyiv, and after training in Ukrainian conservatories, has sung primarily in Ukraine. She entered the international stage in 2010 at age 35 with the title role in Puccini’s “Tosca” in Berlin. She debuted at the Met in 2012 with the title role in Verdi’s “Aida.”

Her parents and brother, as well as her son, remain in Ukraine. “I think about them every minute and every second,” she said.

South Korean tenor Yonghoon Lee, born in Seoul, studied at the Seoul National University and the New School for Music, Manneshas. He performed at the Metropolitan Opera and the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, as well as many other venues. In his debut at the Metropolitan Opera, he sang in “Don Carlo” in 2010.

Soprano Ermonela Jaho was born in Tirana, Albania, and studied at the Liceu Artistik in Tirana. Currently she studies with mezzo-soprano Catherine Green, wife of her manager, Alan Green. She has performed at the Royal Opera in London and the Metropolitan Opera. In 2016 she won the Reader’s Award at the International Opera’s Awards in London.

Bass Ferruccio Furanetto, born in Sacile, Italy, made his professional debut at Lonigo, Italy, in 1974. He debuted at the Metropolitan Opera in1980, as well as the Salzburg Festival. He appeared in American productions of “Boris Godunov,” 2007, and “Don Quichotte,” 2009 and 2014.

Information and tickets for “Turandot” are available at