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Eugène Scribe: “Adriana Lecouvreur”

One of the great actresses of the 18th century, Adrienne Lecouvreur is credited with helping to shift French theater from stylization to naturalism. Yet her fame resides at least as much in the circumstances surrounding her untimely death at age 37; she was rumored to have been poisoned by a romantic rival. This New Year’s Eve, the Metropolitan Opera presents its first performance of a new production of Francesco Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur, which was based on an 1849 play by French dramatist Eugène Scribe and premiered at Milan’s Teatro Lirico in 1902. Scottish director David McVicar’s sumptuous staging features a historically accurate replica of a Baroque theater in the style of the Comédie Française, where Adrienne actually performed. Starring soprano Anna Netrebko in the title role.